March 23, 2023

Dr. Dane Emmerling

Dr. Dane Emmerling

Elana Jaffe

Elana Jaffe

Dane Emmerling, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Elana Jaffe, MPH, UNC medical student and 2020 Gillings Master of Public Health alumna in maternal and child health, are the recipients of the 2023 Engaged Scholarship Prizes. Emmerling is the recipient of the $1500 faculty prize and Jaffe was awarded the $500 graduate student prize. Both were recognized during the North Carolina Campus Engagement (NCCE) 2023 PACE Conference on Feb. 15 at High Point University.

Launched in 2020, the Engaged Scholarship Prize is the brainchild of UNC Greensboro Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., and is awarded by NCCE in partnership with UNC Greensboro. The prize recognizes one full-time faculty member and one graduate student whose scholarship seeks to address public issues and engage communities in collaborative processes that produce or apply knowledge. These scholars also advance service-learning and civic engagement in higher education and disseminate their work to the broader public.

Through his research, Emmerling seeks to gain evidence of effective interventions that raise the consciousness of public health practitioners and policymakers to recognize and eliminate health disparities. Over five years ago, Emmerling embarked on a community-based participatory research partnership (CBPR) with the North Carolina-based Racial Equity Institute (REI), to evaluate their antiracism training and disseminate the findings. His goal was to explore the effectiveness of diversity and anti-racism training in shifting individuals’ and institutions’ attitudes and behaviors about their participation in unjust systems. They used CBPR to build trust, increase transparency, share power and decision-making, ensure mutual benefit, and improve the quality of data and research products. They found that the REI Phase 1 training influences individuals’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Collectively, these studies contribute to an emerging science of antiracism that reckons with the benefits and limitations of antiracism training as an intervention for individuals, organizations, and systems.

Emmerling and the CBPR team have discussed their partnership and disseminated their results in a variety of formats including symposia and guest lectures in several classes at UNC. They are currently co-authoring three peer-reviewed articles for publication in Public Health journals. Community partners from REI are co-authors and co-creators of each manuscript. They are also currently working with a design firm to create a summary of their findings to be widely distributed, to the thousands of people with whom REI works each year, and beyond.

As a medical student pursuing a career in women’s health, Jaffe is committed to the development and implementation of evidence-based care for women’s health across the lifespan, especially for women in carceral settings recognizing the increasing numbers of middle-aged women incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails, and the complete absence of scholarship on this issue. Since 2019, Jaffe has pursued engaged scholarship that centers women’s experiences of menopause and access to resources for menopause management in carceral settings.

With support of a Community Engagement Fellowship from the Carolina Center for Public Service and her mentor, Andrea Knittel, MD, PhD, the medical director for Incarcerated Women’s Health at UNC, Jaffe partnered with community organizations serving justice-involved individuals in North Carolina to conducted a pilot study of women who had experienced the menopause transition while incarcerated. Interviewees reported concerning and disruptive symptoms, inadequate resources to manage symptoms, multiple barriers to accessing care for menopause-related symptoms, a lack of social and informational support, and receiving extra punishment for attempts to manage symptoms. Through various venues, Jaffe has presented and published these findings and received the 2020 Master’s Research Award in the Aging & Public Health Section at the American Public Health Association annual conference.

North Carolina Campus Engagement is a collaborative network of 38 colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, partnering with communities for positive change, and strengthening democracy.

Dr. Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. is the eleventh Chancellor of UNC Greensboro and has spent 30 years in higher education working as a scholar and administrator on community partnerships. UNC Greensboro has a long history of engaged scholarship and has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a community-engaged institution.

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