April 19, 2023

From Student to Professor, Bree Hemingway Exemplifies Transdisciplinarity

Picture of Bree Hemingway

Assistant Clinical Professor Bree Hemingway’s research and experience plot a track that’s CGU to the core. With a background in research and evaluation at a cancer patient services nonprofit, Hemingway wanted her research to help bridge the gaps that she saw in healthcare.

“I wanted to improve the public health workforce, especially with regards to cultural competency and health equity.”

Drawing on her work experience, Hemingway’s PhD dissertation, “Evaluation Training in Public Health: Exploring a New Approach for MPH Curricula,” was funded by CGU’s Transdisciplinary Studies program, bringing together research housed in the Evaluation & Applied Research Methods Program, the School of Educational Studies, and the School of Community & Global Health.

She noted that Professor Darlene Peterson was an important member of her dissertation committee, working in both evaluation and public health, helping her tie together the two disciplines. Now, as assistant clinical professor of community and global health at CGU, she’s working across disciplines to help public health practitioners create better health outcomes in Southern California.

During the peak of the pandemic, Hemingway developed online training modules, using animation and voice-overs to simulate real-world scenarios for working public health students. Drawing on Adult Learning Theory, she found that respondents valued working through the material on their own schedules and at their own pace.

This self-guided methodology provided busy public health professionals with the autonomy to go over the lifelike modules and apply the training as they worked. The animation and voice-overs allowed respondents to reflect on the situation, apply their knowledge, and ground their education in tangible scenarios.

Stemming from her background in evaluation and the ethos of the Transdisciplinary Studies Program, Hemingway’s research drew upon tools gained from the School of Educational Studies to help public health professionals learn and implement new skills.

Hemingway has since turned her focus to a systematic review of the gaps in the public health workforce in Southern California post-Covid, publishing her article “Building Program Evaluation Capacity Through an Online Training for Graduate Students at Schools and Programs of Public Health” with Sage Journal.

Together with the help of her student assistants Sarah Douville and Reener Balingit, Hemingway was able to conduct her research at the Community Health Innovation Learning Lab (CHILL).

She found that concepts from her evaluation background could aid public health professionals to build more equitable health outcomes. Using the CDC evaluation framework, Hemingway helped her students become more confident with the available resources.

Hemingway is currently working to produce a podcast and toolkit to help students prepare for public health exams, adding another resource to help Southern California stay healthy.