MEET THE RESEARCHERS BEHIND PROJECT COPE

The Project COPE team spans a wide variety of disciplines, experiences and expertise but with one goal: understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare professionals and students.

ANN BLAIR KENNEDY, LMT, BCTMB, DRPH

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

Dr. Kennedy is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. She became a board certified and a South Carolina licensed massage therapist in 1999 and was in clinical practice prior to pursuing her Doctor of Public Health degree in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from the University of South Carolina. She completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Human Performance Lab at the USC School of Medicine Greenville in April 2017. Dr. Kennedy’s specific research interests include: patient and stakeholder engagement in research, implementation monitoring and process evaluation, integrative medicine, and stress/wellness particularly in health professionals. Finally, she is the Director of the Patient Engagement Studio and the Executive Editor/Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

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SMITH HEAVNER-SULLIVAN, MS, RN

Prisma Health

Smith Heavner-Sullivan is a registered nurse with 14 years of health care experience and specialized in emergency and critical care nursing. He has worked in small, rural hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and level 1 trauma centers, as a nursing technician and a charge nurse. Smith holds a Master of Science in Applied Health Research and Evaluation from Clemson University and is a doctoral student in the same program. His research spans diverse topics including LGBTQ+ health and workforce disparities, burnout and moral injury, emergency department crowding, dissemination and implementation of emergency department based public health interventions, and program evaluation. Smith serves as Executive Director of the Center of Excellence in LGBTQ Health and Wellness, Program Director of iLink, a FOCUS partner initiative to implement routine HIV and Hepatitis C screening in the emergency department, and Principle Investigator of the Prisma Health Rapid Innovation Task Force Comprehensive COVID-19 Registry.  

Geoffrey Anguyo, MD

Kigezi Health Care Foundation

Dr. Geoffrey Anguyo is a medical doctor and the founder and Executive Director of Kigezi Healthcare Foundation (KIHEFO) located in southwest Uganda. KIHEFO believes that poverty, disease, and ignorance are interconnected, and therefore, must all be addressed to break the cycle. Based on this philosophy, KIHEFO pursues a holistic and participatory approach to community development. Using a bottom-up approach, individual people and village groups are given the necessary care, resources and tools to become healthy, productive community members. The key to KIHEFO’s model is to educate and empower people so that they may live positive, healthy and economically productive lives. The KIHEFO Family is ever-expanding, with former patients donating their time to volunteer to help further KIHEFO’s goals of promoting sustainable livelihoods for fighting poverty, disease, and ignorance in Uganda. The community is KIHEFO’s greatest resource. As a holistic-minded development organization, KIHEFO promotes health and sustainable agriculture, offers insight and a means for income generation, and encourages civic participation amongst local communities. Dr. Anguyo works diligently to advance KIHEFO’s vision of an educated community, free of poverty, related communicable diseases with adequate and sustainable income at household Level.

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Chiwoneso Beverley Tinago, PhD, MPH, CHES®

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West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Chiwoneso Tinago is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She received her PhD in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from the University of South Carolina. At West Chester University, she teaches both undergraduate and graduate public health courses, is a faculty internship advisor, the Master's in Public Health Student Advisory Board faculty advisor, and chairs the College of Health Sciences Global Health Research Team. She studies individual and structural environmental influences on health among adolescent girls and women in south-east Africa through emic and community-based participatory methods.  

NIKI MUNK, PHD, LMT

Indiana University (IUPUI)

Niki Munk is an Associate Professor of Health Sciences in Indiana University’s School of Health and Human Sciences, a non-practicing Kentucky licensed massage therapist, and member of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH) research work group. Dr. Munk is one of 13 international Fellows in ARCCIM’s International Complementary Medicine Research Leadership Program, co-investigator on the TOMCATT study, and a Massage Therapy Foundation Trustee. Dr. Munk’s research explores real-world massage therapy for chronic pain and associated factors, trigger point self-care, massage for amputation related sequelae, and the reporting and impact of massage related case reports among other projects. Prior to beginning her gerontological doctoral pursuits in 2006, Dr. Munk worked as Program Director and a lead instructor for the Lexington Healing Arts Academy in Lexington, Kentucky. Discouraged by accessibility barriers to massage therapy faced by much of the population, she chose research and academia as a means to help bridge the accessibility gap reasoning that stronger evidence for the field will lead to increased routine 3rd party coverage for massage treatment.

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SHANNON STARK TAYLOR, PHD

Prisma Health

Shannon Stark Taylor, PhD is a clinical psychologist who serves as Director of Behavioral Health for the Prisma Health Family Medicine residency program- Greenville. She also has appointments as a clinical assistant professor at the USC School of Medicine Greenville and the Clemson University School of Health Research. She became interested in health care provider well-being through a recent study conducted with Prisma, USC, and Clemson colleagues on clinical teaching, burnout, and meaning in work and when trying to better understand the topic in order to teach burnout prevention and management strategies to medical students and residents. In the COPE study, she is particularly interested in learning what coping skills are and are not helpful for mitigating burnout in this uniquely stressful circumstance, to inform interventions for potential future crises.

SARAH GRIFFIN, MHD, PHD

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Clemson University

Sarah F. Griffin, MPH, PhD is a Professor and the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences at Clemson University. She received her MPH and PhD from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Griffin has over 20 years of experience evaluating health improvement programs in community, school, and clinical settings. Her research focuses on dissemination, implementation, and effectiveness of evidence-based approaches to obesity and other chronic disease prevention or treatment. Dr. Griffin employs a mixed methods approach to assess and intervene in community, school, and clinical settings. Currently she is the Principal Investigator for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 5-year initiative to reduce obesity in three areas of South Carolina. She is also the lead evaluator for a 5-year Greenville Health Authority sponsored School-Based Health initiative addressing obesity and trauma in Greenville County schools. She is also currently a Co-Investigator on a Department of Defense sponsored project to improve resilient documentation of medical events in the battle-field and through injury transport. Dr. Griffin has also been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Agriculture for her work.

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MOLLY BERNEDUM, MD

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System

Molly Benedum, MD is a board-certified family physician and directs the MAHEC Boon Rural Family Medicine Residency Program. She provides comprehensive primary care from cradle to grave, including newborn and pediatric care and inpatient hospital care. Her special clinical interests include women's health, adolescent medicine, integrative medicine, and care for vulnerable and underserved people including the LGBTQ population. Her research and teaching interests include evidence-based medicine and wellness and burnout in the clinical learning environment. She is passionate about teaching the next generation of excellent primary care physicians to serve the Carolinas, and has won several teaching awards during her career, including an Outstanding Service Award from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville.

MARISSA SHUFFLER, PHD

Clemson University

Dr. Shuffler is an Associate Professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Clemson University and Director of Clemson’s DIGITAL (Deriving Innovative & riGorous scIence for Teaming And Leading) Research Lab. She has recently served on Prisma Health System’s Enhancing the Practice of Medicine Steering Committee, a systemic effort aimed at reducing provider burnout and increasing healthcare access in South Carolina’s Upstate region.Her research focuses on the study of scientifically derived, innovative interventions needed to develop, sustain, and maximize inter- and intra-team functioning and wellbeing. Her work also addresses the challenges of leading and leadership development in high risk and complex environments, including healthcare systems, the military, and spaceflight. Furthermore, she is currently co-lead of a three year NASA funded effort to conduct a series of field studies that will uncover the key inter- and intra-team processes and relationship dynamics impacting long duration spaceflight. Dr. Shuffler has conducted this and similar research for government, military, and industry, including the U.S. Army Research Institute (ARI), NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Center for Army Leadership, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Air Force, and Prisma Health-Upstate (formerly Greenville Health System).

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THOMAS W. BRITT, PHD

Clemson University

Dr. Britt is a Professor of Psychology at Clemson University. He is also the Clemson University Research Director of the Health Science Research and in his role, will work to generate increased collaboration in health research between Clemson faculty from all 7 colleges and Prisma Health clinical faculty. He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Florida in 1994 before entering active duty as a research psychologist in the U.S. Army. He came to Clemson University in 2000, where he was promoted to Full Professor in 2007. His prior research on organizational stress and resilience has been funded by the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, and NASA. In January of 2019, Dr. Britt began his position as a CUSHR Faculty Fellow in the Emergency Medicine Department at Prisma Health-Upstate. In this role he was involved in multiple research projects on meaningful work and other determinants of emergency physician burnout and resilience, as well as multiple research projects in support of the Enhancing the Practice of Medicine Initiative at Prisma Health Upstate.

REBECCA RUSS-SELLERS, PHD

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

Dr. Russ-Sellers is an evaluative research consultant and a founding faculty member of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville (USCSOMG). She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2012 from the University of South Carolina and completed Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor ICPSR Program and as an embedded researcher with the Care Coordination Institute (CCI) in Greenville, SC. She subsequently became Research Director for the CCI, facilitating and evaluating interventions during the implementation of system-level quality outcome measures related the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, Dr. Russ-Sellers has served as Director for Medical Student Research at USCSOMG,developing and maintaining research partnerships between medical students and clinical faculty at PRISMA Health and partner academic institutions. She developed and teaches the Population Health curriculum for the Medical Experience (MedEx) Academy, a nationally recognized pre-clinical pipeline program for undergraduates matriculating to medical school. Dr. Russ-Sellers’ specific research interests include: the role of governmental policy in the development and implementation of health policy, and evaluating for formative intervention the implementation of health and educational policy in special needs and vulnerable populations.

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KENDALL DEAN, BS

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

Kendall Dean is a medical student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. Prior to medical school, I received my B.S. in Biology through the University of South Carolina. I have previously  worked as a researcher in an environmental microbiology lab, an EMT, and an Emergency Room Technician. I’m excited to be a part of documenting the effects of COVID-19 on health care workers as the pandemic unfolds.

CHLOE WILSON, MS

Clemson University

Chloe Wilson, M.S., A.B.D, is a doctoral candidate in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program at Clemson University. She is pursuing an additional certification in Occupational Health Psychology. Chloe's research focuses on high risk occupations, moral distress, emotional labor, and meaningful work, specializing in organizational assessments and interventions (development, project management & administration, analysis/evaluation, reporting). Chloe is involved in projects aimed to improve the quality of work for employees through scientifically investigating human behavior in the work environment through in-depth examination of current research and the use of statistical analyses in the assessment and evaluation of occupational health principles. Chloe has applied research experience on interdisciplinary teams in the Intelligence Community, military, and healthcare settings on projects such as organizational justice training, the impact unit climate has on willingness to seek treatment for PTSD, stress management training for clinicians experiencing burnout, the impact of stress on fertility for female physicians and the assessment of fatigue and meaningful work in the emergency department.

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MARK HEYWARD JOHNSON, MHA

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University of South Carolina 

Mark Heyward Johnson is a PhD student (nursing science) at the University of South Carolina. Mark has over 22 years of nursing experience in informatics, psychiatric, cardiac, and oncology practice. Mark has maintained ANCC certification in Informatics Nursing since 2005 and CPHIMS certification since 2009. Mark has worked in provider and vendor roles with experience in healthcare systems selection, implementation, support and development, as well as software business development roles. Mark was elected in 2017 to serve on the national board of directors for the American Nursing Informatics Association and currently serves as the association treasurer. Mark has served on multiple Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) committees, including the Connected Patient and Professional Development HIMSS for 2015. Mark was named a Fellow at HIMSS in 2017. Mark is a graduate of the Clemson University School of Nursing and earned an MHA (focus on Information Systems) from the Medical University of South Carolina. 

HANNAH METWALLY, BA

Furman University

Hannah Metwally is a recent graduate from Furman University where she majored in Public Health and minored in Middle East & Islamic Studies. She plans to pursue a career that addresses the many barriers to health, particularly for those in under-resourced communities. She is excited to be apart of the Project COPE team and help to uplift the voices of those in a time of crisis.

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KEMI BALOGUN, BS

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

Kemi Balogun is a third year medical student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. In 2016, she received her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Psychology at Wake Forest University. She plans on pursuing a career in Obstetrics and Gynecology and has special interests in both women’s mental health and health care disparities. In the COPE study, Kemi is particularly interested in illuminating the voices and experiences of minority communities within healthcare as the COVID-19
pandemic continues to unfold.

RHIANNON MCCALLUS

University of South Carolina

Rhiannon McCallus is a junior public health undergraduate, hoping to later pursue her MPH with a concentration in global health. She hopes to have a career working with health disparities and preventative healthcare. She is working under Dr. Kennedy as a research assistant on the expansion of Project COPE abroad. 

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