A National Clinician Scholar (NCSP) who completed the program in 2018, Sue Anne Bell received a Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Michigan, with an emphasis in Women’s Health. Her research focuses broadly on the impact of disasters and climate change on human health. Bell, who is now an assistant professor of nursing at U-M, has practiced nursing and conducted research in multiple global settings including Ghana, Ethiopia, India, Cambodia and the Caribbean.
“My interest in the impact of disasters on the health of communities goes back to my work as a nurse practitioner and researcher in West Africa,” explains Bell. “As a National Clinician Scholar, I was able to build on that, looking at the long term health outcomes of communities exposed to disaster, and the impact of disaster response on health and health disparities within those communities.”
As an example, Bell has used a large national database to identify people with pre-existing chronic conditions like asthma who have also been exposed to a disaster, studying a range of health metrics at six months, one year and two years following the event to determine whether any changes could be traced to the disaster.
From learning more advanced statistical techniques and more culturally sensitive research design methods to attending classes on U.S. health policy and seminars to improve presentation skills, everything about the Clinical Scholars Program is designed to help researchers like Bell advance their careers. “Both the curriculum and the individual support were outstanding,” she says. “The experience made me a better researcher, and provided endless opportunities to network and collaborate.”
“The experience made me a better researcher, and provided endless opportunities to network and collaborate.”
In addition to interacting with fellow scholars and faculty members, NCSP participants also gain exposure to national experts in health services research, including graduates of the program. “During my first year as a scholar, I attended a lecture by a NCSP alumna who is now a cabinet-level official focused on disaster response,” she says. “She took time from working on the Flint (Michigan) water crisis to meet with us, and to extend an invitation to shadow her in Washington. That connection would have never happened outside of this program.”