PI Academy mentors to present special lectures March 14, 19

PI Academy mentors to present special lectures March 14, 19
Courtney Brannon Donoghue
The PI Academy program will pair Courtney Brannon Donoghue, Ph.D., an assistant professor of cinema studies at OU, with Miranda Banks, Ph.D., an associate professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College.

Oakland University’s PI Academy mentoring program continues to pair OU junior faculty with top professors from universities across the nation.


On Wednesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 15, the PI Academy will welcome Joel Gittelsohn, Ph.D., a professor with the Department of International Health at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Melissa Reznar, Ph.D., an assistant professor with Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at Oakland University, will work with Dr. Gittelsohn as her mentor.


According to the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health website, Gittelsohn is a medical anthropologist who specializes in the use of qualitative and quantitative information to design, implement and evaluate health and nutrition intervention programs.


Melissa Reznar

Dr. Gittelsohn integrates qualitative and quantitative approaches to better understand culture-based beliefs and behaviors regarding dietary patterns, and how these factors influence the success or failure of dietary and lifestyle modification strategies. He applies these methods and interventions for the prevention of obesity and diabetes among different indigenous and ethnic groups, to nutrient deficiencies of Nepalese children and women, and to improve infant feeding in diverse settings, including The Gambia; Hartford, Conn.; and Peru.


He is currently working on chronic disease interventions among the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache (obesity prevention), the Ojibwa-Cree (diabetes prevention), African American church-going women (cardiovascular disease prevention) and children and adults in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (obesity and undernutrition prevention).

Joel Gittelsohn


“Dr. Gittelsohn is a renowned expert in nutrition research, particularly in improving the food environment to promote positive dietary choices,” Reznar said. “I am fortunate to have the ear of such a prolific researcher who has over 250 publications and whose insight and advice will undoubtedly be invaluable. I look forward to hearing more about his work, and I am eager to work with him on this project.”


On Monday, March 19 and Tuesday, March 20, the PI Academy program will pair Courtney Brannon Donoghue, Ph.D., an assistant professor of cinema studies at OU, with Miranda Banks, Ph.D., an associate professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College.


According to the Emerson College website, Dr. Banks’ primary area of research is the American film and television industries. Her work focuses on creative and craft guilds and unions, with specific focus on power dynamics and creative production.


She is the author of The Writers: A History of American Screenwriters and their Guild (Rutgers University Press, 2015), co-editor of Production Studies: Cultural Studies of Media Industries (Routledge, 2009), and co-editor of Production Studies, The Sequel! Cultural Studies of Global Media Industries (Routledge, 2015).


Miranda Banks

Dr. Banks is also a principal investigator at the Emerson Engagement Lab. Her work at the lab has focused on engagement games around collaborative labor and tensions between individual gain and team building. Her current game is Room at the Top, a game that challenges ideas about bias in media production. Previously, she worked on The Boda-Boda Game, a partnership with the Red Cross in Uganda.


In addition to their roles as mentors, Dr. Gittelsohn and Dr. Banks will also be presenting special seminars during their visit.


From 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14 in room 5037 in the Human Health Building, Dr. Gittelsohn will present “Improving the Low-Income Urban Food Environment: Experiences of the Healthy Stores Studies.” He will be discussing his research interventions with corner stores in inner-city Baltimore to improve healthy food access among residents. Dr. Gittelsohn will also touch on similar obesity prevention programs in Native American and Pacific Islander residents.


Also, Dr. Banks will present “The Writers: A History of American Screenwriters & Their Guild” from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Monday, March 19 in room 202C in O’Dowd Hall. The seminar will examine five watershed moments that changed the industry and the profession of writing: the advent of sound, World War II, the blacklist, ascension of television, the American New Wave, the rise and fall of VHS and DVD, and the boom of streaming media.


The lectures are open to OU faculty, staff and students, as well as the general public.


More information about the events, as well as the PI Academy, is available on the Research Office website at oakland.edu/research/pi-academy.


About the PI Academy for Research and Engagement


The PI Academy provides professional development in research and engagement to a cohort of 30 non-tenured, tenure-track faculty members from across campus. The program includes training sessions, workshops, and other activities intended to enhance their abilities as principal investigators. Academy participants are also matched with an external mentor to further develop their skill set and career network. The PI Academy offers a great opportunity for interdisciplinary connections to be made between faculty of all disciplines. The program helps attract, support, and retain productive and engaged faculty, and grows research at OU.