Meet Shannon Guillot-Wright, new associate professor for SWCOEH
Shannon Guillot-Wright, PhD, joined the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health as an associate professor in July. Guillot-Wright earned her MA in Human Rights from Columbia University, a PhD in Medical Humanities from UTMB, and completed her postdoctoral training in health policy research at Penn State. She is also the Director of Health Policy Research at UTMB's Center for Violence Prevention.
Guillot-Wright's research interests are at the intersection of occupational health equity and health policy research, emphasizing community-based participatory research. She is an ethnographer by training and is particularly interested in examining power, influence, social change, and the broader health impacts of political-economic policies. In her free time, she enjoys binging a great TV series or podcast, and she also loves running and recently finished the NYC marathon.
To learn more about Guillot-Wright, SWCOEH.org asked her more about her background.
SWCOEH.org: What attracted you to this role as an associate professor with the SWCOEH?
Guillot-Wright: I’ve worked with some of the SWCOEH faculty for a few years and the energy, love for outreach, and vision for an occupational health research paradigm that is centered in community voices and the social dimensions of health was refreshing and exciting.
SWCOEH.org: You are an ethnographer by training. What drove your interest in that and how does that training apply in your work today?
Guillot-Wright: Even though I come from a public health background, my focus was in the health humanities, which is based more in philosophy and qualitative methods than traditional public health. I love that I get to spend years getting to know people, their families, and their work environments, which challenges me to partner with communities and hear what they need, not what I think they need.
SWCOEH.org: Can you please tell me more about your work so far at the Docside clinic and what you hope to learn and accomplish?
Guillot-Wright: The Docside Clinic was born out of our community-based work with fishermen in Southeast Texas. We were interested in learning about the prevention of slips, trips, and falls since it’s the leading injury for them. But when we went out to the docks, everyone kind of laughed at us. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” they said. “But what about my diabetes? What about my hospital bill I can’t pay? What about my eye infection?” We learned that many or most of the deckhands weren’t seen by a primary care clinician for decades. It started as a one-time event to get them connected to primary care, and we now go out monthly and have seen nearly 300 fishermen. It has not only provided care for them, but also built trust. What they say matters, what they experience matters, and we’ll listen to and react to those experiences immediately. We’re now expanding and studying the program in three Gulf Coast cities through funding from NIOSH and the Southwest Ag Center. What we hope to show is that by addressing primary needs – or think of it as addressing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – we can then target other risk factors like substance use or falls overboard. Lacy Davis, our Sr. Program Manager, is the lifeblood to the Docside Clinic. She is absolutely amazing, and I hope everyone gets to know her!
SWCOEH.org: What are you excited to teach, research and learn at the SWCOEH?
Guillot-Wright: I’m so excited to meet the future leaders of this work, our students, and to learn from them. I will encourage them to be disruptors – disrupt our current way of thinking and doing things. That is the only way to move forward, and I can already tell that the UTHealth School of Public Health and the SWCOEH value this kind of thinking and teaching.
The SWCOEH provides graduate-level training opportunities for occupational and environmental health professionals through our industrial hygiene, occupational and environmental medicine, occupational epidemiology, and Total Worker Health®.