Research Junction Connecting Faculty Across Campus

Research Junction
Research Junction is a new initiative that aims to catalyze the development of cross-cutting research collaborations.
Dr. Elizabeth Brown MUSC

If music is food for the soul, then let it play on for Dr. Elizabeth Brown, assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Health Professions. This angler, and proud military brat, is interested in social determinants of health (SDOH), particularly Medicaid policy, access to primary care, race/ethnicity, and privilege. When she is not brainstorming innovative ways to teach students about SDOH, she likes to visit the Marvel Universe. Avengers assemble!

1.     What is your educational background

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English-Journalism, Masters of Public Administration, and a Ph.D. in Health & Rehabilitation Sciences (health services track).


2.     Where is your hometown?


I’m a proud “military brat,” so I’ve lived in a few different places in the US but consider Aiken, SC as home.


3.     Why did you choose MUSC?


I wanted an opportunity to learn more about research and stay in South Carolina. I saw MUSC as the leading institution in research in the state and wanted to be a part of that.


4.     What are your current research interests and how did you become interested in this field?


My current research interests are social determinants of health (SDOH), particularly Medicaid policy, access to primary care, race/ethnicity, and privilege as an SDOH. I became interested in this area when I shadowed physicians in the hospital and had a chance to meet with patients and hear stories. That opportunity made me want to focus on the patients living with chronic conditions who couldn’t make it to MUSC or a provider due to various barriers (e.g., lack of insurance, hourly wages, transportation, childcare, trust and communication, etc.).


5.     What has been your biggest scientific contribution to date?


I don’t know if this counts, but it’s something I’m quite proud of and developing into a line of research. While I conduct health services research and publish in that area, most of my time is dedicated to teaching allied health professions, so I’ve learned to merge my HSR with my education research. This year, I presented a Modified Privilege Walk workshop at the Association for Prevention and Teaching Research (APTR) with my colleagues. The presentation was based on my work over the last three years. In short, in 2018, I wanted an innovative and creative way to teach students about SDOH—factors in their lives that may impact their health equity and overall quality of life. I restructured my SDOH course and adapted a race and social class questionnaire to create a Modified Privilege Walk with my students. I ended up publishing in the Journal of Allied Health about the changes to the SDOH course as a quality improvement project. In summer 2020, when there was a lot of racial unrest, I conducted the Modified Privilege Walk with college faculty, staff, and students so that we could have difficult conversations about race, racism, and racial privilege. Those workshops were also included as Diversity & Inclusion offerings. After these workshops, I wrote about the similarities between COVID-19 and racism and published in Health Equity.


6.     Is there a scientific area/field you would like to know more about?


Psychometric properties in survey development and testing.


7.     Would you like to connect with colleagues within a certain field? If so, what field/area?


Yes. Researchers who study psychometric properties in survey development and testing.


8.     What are some of your hobbies? What do you do for fun?


I love to fish with my dad, husband, and sons. I love to take road trips. Usually on a nice Saturday, I like to drive to Georgetown, SC and eat ice cream and seafood on Front Street.


9.     What is your favorite movie, tv-show, food?


I am a huge Avengers fan! I can watch their movies on repeat any day of the week. I love scary movies like The Conjuring 2! For tv show, nothing beats Golden Girls! Papa John’s pepperoni pizza with extra cheese is my favorite; their new stuffed crust pizza is awesome, too. I also love curry goat, plantains, and homemade, old-fashioned banana pudding.


10.  Please share one interesting detail about yourself.


I don’t see myself as that interesting. Goofy and funny at times, yes, but not interesting.


11.  If you had a yacht, what would you name it?


Bama Girl


12.  Who would play you in a movie about your life?


Me, of course. If I had to name someone, maybe Kiandra Layne 😊


13.  If you were not a scientist, you would be:


R&B singer, songwriter, or food critic


14.  What are the top three activities on your bucket list?


Visit Benin-Togo (traced my DNA there), have a residence outside the US, and take a cross-country trip in a RV, hitting all 50 states.


15.  What’s the best advice you were ever given?


Give yourself some grace



Make a Connection

Drop Dr. Elizabeth Brown an email at