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2/7/23 news article

Dayton Children's researcher selected for fellowship to advance health equity in Dayton

Dr. Shannon Nicks was chosen for the inaugural class of the Health Affairs Fellowship for Trainees

Shannon E. Nicks, PhD, MPH Associate Director of Health Outcomes Research Center for Health Equity

Dr. Shannon Nicks, Associate Director of Health Outcomes Research at Dayton Children’s has been selected for the Health Affairs Health Equity Fellowship for Trainees (HEFT). This fellowship was created to support researchers who have been historically underrepresented in the prestigious journal in publishing their work. Health Affairs is the leading journal of health policy, often used by members of U.S. lawmakers and health leaders across the globe. These selected fellows of the inaugural class will receive a year of mentorship and guidance to help them write and publish the nation’s leading health research. Dr. Nicks was one of only 10 people in the country to be chosen for the fellowship and the only researcher representing a children’s hospital.  

Dr. Nicks will further Dayton Children’s mission in pursuing optimal health for EVERY child through this fellowship. She’ll also bring the Dayton community into the spotlight with her research project titled, “Visualizing the Experience of Health Inequity and Its Impact on Mental Health Outcomes and Service Utilization in the Black Community.” This research study is community-based and invites members of the Black community in Dayton to share how inequities in mental health impact them personally.  

Dr. Nicks conducting research in Old North Dayton neighborhood

Dr. Nicks’ fellowship will focus on the first phase of her study which uses Photovoice methodology to identify mental health needs and strengths of the Black community. Photovoice is an established method that invites the participants of the study to take photographs as an answer to a research question that they are asked. In Dr. Nick’s project, she’ll be asking about 40 participants questions about their experiences of inequity and how that inequity impacted their mental health. These participants will then take photographs, and be interviewed to discuss what they took pictures of and what it means to them. This unique but impactful research study will help Dayton Children’s better meet the behavioral health needs of Black patients and families, which is a strategic priority for our hospital. 

“As a Black woman in science, I understand from personal experience how critically important it is for success to have supportive mentorship,” shares Dr. Nicks. “I am also keenly aware of the opportunity and responsibility I have to advance equity by supporting other people of color and from underrepresented backgrounds through mentorship. Representation in the sciences matters and completing this fellowship will help me further develop effective mentoring skills.” 

Dr. Nicks’ study is currently under way! She and her research team are actively recruiting and enrolling participants in the study. At the end of the year this project will be completed and published.  

For more information on the Health Equity Fellowship for Trainees, click here.