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Field Education Office Professional Development Workshop

BSW Cording & MSW Hooding

Bethany Bell, PhD, MPH

Making Change Happen

Dr. Bethany Bell’s dedication to community health started at a young age. She started volunteering with the American Red Cross in middle school, and she was awarded Volunteer of the Year by the city of Tulsa her senior year. She continued volunteering in college, this time helping non-profit organizations that served individuals with HIV/AIDS. Hearing the powerful stories of people with HIV/AIDS motivated her to get involved with public health issues. After college, she elected to stay in the public health arena by working for AmeriCorps for two years. Then she started a mobile immunization van in Tulsa that visited child care centers and schools to help keep children up-to-date on their immunizations. That program has since blossomed to include two vans in Tulsa and two more in Oklahoma City.

Dr. Bell is now aiming to make a lasting impact on South Carolina communities by taking a social epidemiological approach to community and family health. “I’m not a traditional social worker,” she says, claiming the title of statistician instead. Her applied and methodical research focuses on “how the context in which we live affects our health.”

Dr. Bell’s research looks at the “cultural and environmental influences” on food choices and at neighborhood characteristics in order to help us rethink “how we define food access so it better reflects reality.” She hopes her findings affect public policy regarding food access and education.

Dr. Bell originally came to UofSC to teach statistics courses for the College of Education. After achieving tenure in the COE, she came to the College of Social Work eager to take advantage of the opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and research. Social work is by nature transdisciplinary and interprofessional, she says, so moving her boundary-crossing research to the COSW made perfect sense. From adolescent helper to COSW professor, Dr. Bell is effecting positive change wherever she goes.


Beathany Bell
Contact Information
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  • Office: 803.777.2801
  • Curriculum Vita

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