Mitigating Loneliness and Isolation on College Campuses: Podcast with Dr. Mehrete Girmay

by Camelia Singletary, MPH

Public Health Perspectives is a podcast series targeted towards strengthening the future public health workforce by exploring the narratives of public health care professionals to gain insight on career paths that shape the profession. 

In this episode of Public Health Perspectives, Dr. Mehrete Girmay discusses some of her current work surrounding loneliness and isolation. Dr. Girmay is currently a Public Health Analyst for the Health Resources and Services Administration in the Office of Health Equity. As an advocate for health equity and social justice, her research has been focused on investigating social determinants of health on a national and global scale. Through her position, she is able to help address timely and relevant public health issues in efforts to reduce health disparities among un-served and under-served populations. Today’s discussion centers on the effects of loneliness and isolation and ways that these issues can be mitigated, particularly on college campuses.

Mehrete Girmay, PhD, MPH, CGH, holds a Bachelor’s of Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Additionally, she holds both an MPH and Doctorate degree from Southern Illinois University. Dr. Girmay conducted her post-doctorate work in International and Global Studies at Harvard University, from which she is certified. Her primary focal area has been understanding the mental and emotional needs of international students, but she also has conducted research surrounding the effects of the opioid epidemic in the United States and disparities in cancer mortality. Learn more: Research Gate / LinkedIn

She and her colleague, Dr. Gopal Singh, recently published an article entitled Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Mental and Emotional Well-being among International Students in the United States. Loneliness and isolation can have detrimental mental and physical health effects that adds additional stress to individuals who are learning to navigate new countries and cultures while simultaneously seeking a quality education.

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Camelia Singletary

Camelia Singletary, MPH, received her master’s degree in public health from the University of South Carolina in 2015. Her research interests include exploring the implementation of school physical activity programs in combination with nutritional components. She is also interested in analyzing the adoption of physical activity and healthy eating skills from a social-cognitive perspective. As a public health communicator at JPHMP Direct, she hopes to create linkages between evidence-based research, public health coursework, and health certification competencies.