PHILADELPHIA (June 18, 2021)—Three researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Prevention and Control Program were recognized by Temple University with the Social & Behavioral Sciences Community Partner Outstanding Supervisor Award. This year’s honorees were Jennifer Barsky Reese, PhD; Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH; and Suzanne M. Miller, PhD.
The award is given to community partners who go above and beyond in mentoring Temple University’s public health students during their fieldwork.
“Part of the fabric of my being as a clinician, as a researcher, has been to be a mentor. So it’s very nice, gratifying to be recognized,” said Miller.
Both Fleisher and Reese echoed this sentiment, with Fleisher adding that the award recognizes the value of Fox Chase’s partnership with Temple Public Health as well: “The three of us have been called out this year, but it’s also a tribute to Fox Chase as well as us individually.”
COVID-19 made it especially challenging for these researchers to integrate students into their research teams during the 2020–2021 school year, and the requisite social distancing protocols meant that much of the work they did had to be remote.
“We had to make some pivots to accommodate that our MPH student could not be on campus,” said Fleisher. “But I think that speaks to everyone’s ability to address that pivot and find ways to do these student projects that really have value to both them and us.”
Miller, Reese, and Fleisher’s labs conduct research at the intersection of cancer prevention and control, digital health, implementation science, and health communication. Their work collectively focuses on patient education and developing tools to help patients with decision-making and adherence behaviors.
Involving students in this work requires time and work on the part of everyone in the lab, and the researchers see the Community Partner Award as recognizing these team efforts too.
“I’d like to thank members of my research lab for helping to integrate the students into our team and making sure the students have what they need to pursue their goals,” said Reese. “They help me execute the objective of mentorship and training.”
Moreover, although the students receive valuable real-world research experience in the labs, Reese, Fleisher, and Miller all took care to point out that the students provide value as well.
“For our team, it’s always nice to have new people coming in and bringing new ideas. It creates a certain energy that’s really valuable,” said Fleisher.
“We want that fresh eye,” added Miller. “We want them asking the questions we’ve forgotten that we should be asking.”