Research Partners

The work of the BEACH Laboratory would not be possible without the support of many funding agencies, community partnerships, and collaborators. Click on the pictures below to learn more about our current and past funders, partners, and collaborators.

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Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

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 sctr_logo_contact_us  PiedmontHealthFoundation
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livewell-greenville

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Research Collaborators

The BEACH Lab work would not be possible without the collaboration of colleagues across the United States and globally.

Gina Besenyi, MPH, PhD

GinaProfilePicGina Besenyi is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Kansas State University and Director of the Physical Activity Research in Community Settings (PARCS) Lab. Her research explores how built environments contribute to active living behaviors and population-level health outcomes across geographic and cultural contexts and how disparities within these relationships might be understood and rectified, including through citizen engagement in creating healthier communities. Within this broader field of environmental health promotion, she has a specific interest in the role of parks, green space, and recreational facilities, and how availability, accessibility, and quality of such community resources influence physical activity, especially among youth. As well, she is a burgeoning expert in how innovative technology such as geographic information systems and mobile applications can be utilized within this public health research agenda to promote community participation Email: gbesenyi@ksu.edu

Stephanie Child, PhD

13699989_10104067177390734_4838090118534948956_nStephanie Child is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. She recently graduated from the Arnold School of Public Health at USC where she was a research assistant with the BEACH Lab. Her dissertation stemmed from the Greenville Healthy Neighborhoods Project, and she maintains several ongoing projects and collaborations with the BEACH Lab team. Generally, her research focuses on the role of social networks and social capital across broad health outcomes, including ways in which socioeconomic status and race shape the associations between social environments on chronic disease. Email: schild07@gmail.com

Morgan Hughey, PhD, MPH

Morgan is an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at the College of Charleston. She graduated with her PhD from the department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in 2017.  She received a B.S. in Health and Exercise Science from Furman University and a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) from the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina.  She has served as a graduate research assistant for several years on multiple community-based projects and worked for two years with a coalition, LiveWell Greenville, to implement physical activity initiatives focused around parks and recreation systems in Greenville, South Carolina.  Morgan’s research interests focus on examining the relationships between community environments and health behaviors like physical activity and healthy eating. She is particularly interested in health inequities within different communities and how community-based approaches may help reduce such inequities. Morgan enjoys playing sports, especially flag football and softball, hiking, biking, and enjoying lake activities. Morgan likes to spend time with friends, family, and her boxer mix dog, Tyson. Email: morganhughey@gmail.com

Melissa Fair, MPH

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Melissa Fair is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior within the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.  Melissa also received her Masters of Public Health from the USC Arnold School of Public Health, and her Bachelors of Science degree in Health and Exercise Science from Furman University. Melissa is a Greenville, South Carolina native where she currently resides and works for LiveWell Greenville, a coalition of private and public partnerships focused on improving policies and environments that support healthy eating and active living. Currently she serves as LiveWell Greenville’s Evaluation Coordinator, as part of the DCH Partnerships in Improving Community Health (PICH) Grant. Melissa’s background includes coalition development with a focus on relationship building with community partners, as well as evaluating community based public health programs. In her spare time you are likely to find Melissa running, hanging out with her Labrador retriever rescue, reading good books, or eating really good food. email: melissa.fair@furman.edu

Marilyn Wende, MSPH

Marilyn is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the Ohio State University and Master of Science in Public Health from the Department of Epidemiology at the University of South Carolina. While earning her masters, she studied health behaviors and weight outcome for pregnant women and continued her education to focus more on her interests of physical activity and diet and how they related to obesity outcomes.  She currently serves as a graduate research assistant for numerous projects within the BEACH Lab, including the ParkIndex project, Spartanburg Healthy Schools Initiative and the Rural Obesogenic Environments project. Marilyn enjoys riding her bike on the SC trails, doing yoga, gardening and anything else that involves being outside. email: mwende@email.sc.edu