CLEMSON — Clemson University public health sciences faculty member Sarah Griffin, Ph.D., has been named a Greenville Health System Faculty Fellow, where she will help lead GHS-Clemson research in childhood obesity and pediatric population health management.
Griffin will work with the GHS Children’s Hospital Department of Pediatrics to examine the effectiveness and costs of obesity prevention efforts associated with three GHS initiatives: the Greenville Memorial Childcare Center, the New Impact childhood obesity treatment program, and GHS health clinics at Berea, Lakeview and Tanglewood middle schools in Greenville.
Griffin will specifically add expertise in behavioral science, intervention design and delivery, and program evaluation, and focus on novel ways to prevent and treat obesity through the influence of social and behavioral factors.
“The ultimate goal is to conduct research with GHS Children’s Hospital programs that will help them be as effective and efficient as possible as they impact pediatric obesity in the Upstate,” said Dr. Desmond Kelly, vice chair for academic affairs in the GHS Department of Pediatrics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of adolescents and close to 27 percent of low-income preschool children in South Carolina are already overweight or obese. The situation in Greenville County is even worse, with an estimated 41 percent of Greenville County youth identified as overweight or obese, according to LiveWell Greenville.
“With ever-increasing childhood obesity rates, it is vital that researchers develop evidence-based prevention practices and provide scholarship on the effectiveness of these practices,” Griffin said. “Healthy interventions that change weight-related behavior and prevent or treat obesity benefit everyone – children, their families, healthcare systems and the community as a whole.”
Griffin is the third Clemson faculty member to be named a GHS Faculty Fellow. Each fellow is strategically embedded in a GHS department, shifting their focus from their regular teaching duties to developing a comprehensive research agenda with their embedded GHS department.
“The Faculty Fellow produces research to improve the health of the community, along with their clinical partners,” said Windsor Sherrill, associate vice president for health research at Clemson and chief science officer at GHS.
An associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Griffin joined the Clemson faculty in 2006. She previously served as a research associate in the University of South Carolina’s Prevention Research Center. Her research focuses on eliminating health disparities related to obesity among underserved, minority communities.
“Dr. Griffin’s appointment as Faculty Fellow is another step forward for our Embedded Scholarship program,” Sherrill said. “Her research with the GHS Department of Pediatrics has already been recognized for its collaborative potential, and her work in community-based health promotion research contributes to Clemson’s goal of improving health outcomes. This partnership further strengthens the connections between GHS and the Clemson University School of Health Research.”
The Clemson University School of Health Research is a multidisciplinary unit designed to accelerate growth in health-related research and education. The school creates opportunities for faculty and students across disciplines to engage in applied research, professional learning, and immersion experiences to transform healthcare delivery and health outcomes.