If you’ve ever met Terri Robinson, Ph.D. — whether it was in a hospital lab, classroom or tucked away in a library — chances are, her passion for public health was front and center.
From her undergraduate career and earning her doctorate to joining Northeast Ohio Medical University as its executive director of Academic and Library Services, Dr. Robinson, has maintained closely connected with the health care field.
For a number of years, she worked as a medical technologist in a laboratory at Summa Health.
While she enjoyed the work she was doing, Dr. Robinson says she developed a passion and sincere interest in what she was learning about the discipline of public health at the hospital.
“Working in the laboratory, we were directly engaged with the health care team in the emergency department and I started to notice a number of people who were accessing the ER just because they didn’t have a primary source of care.” says Dr. Robinson.
Developing an interest in public health
Ultimately, Dr. Robinson decided she wanted to help patients like she was encountering in the emergency department, so she enrolled in NEOMED’s Master of Public Health program.
As she transitioned from working in a laboratory to graduate medical education, Dr. Robinson was still eager to further her public health education, so she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in health education and promotion from Kent State University.
During this time, Dr. Robinson joined NEOMED, where she now serves as the University’s executive director of Academic and Library Services.
While she oversees NEOMED’s Aneal Mohan Kohli Academic and Information Technology Center and Northeast Depository Library, Academic Services and Testing Services, Dr. Robinson’s passion for public health is still as prevalent.
Educating the future of health care
A highlight of her work at NEOMED is instructing fourth-year College of Medicine students in a course called Social Determinants of Health.
The course is designed to look at disparities that exist across the United States and how students, as future medical professionals, will engage with patients in their local communities to help them overcome such challenges to good health such as residing in a food desert, working in a factory with daily exposure to noise or air pollution, living with chronic health conditions or dealing with other negative health factors in their daily lives.
“There are folks within different populations that don’t have access or the resources to maintain a quality life. Understanding that is important for our students,” says Dr. Robinson.
Making a difference in her community
Being aware of those daily challenges from her clinical and academic experiences, Dr. Robinson is an advocate for public health on and off campus.
On the weekends, she volunteers with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service organization that focuses on programming, one of which is physical and mental health, of the African-American community Together, Dr. Robinson and her Delta Sigma Theta sisters offer breast health education resources to underserved women throughout Portage and Summit counties.
“Through this collaborative program, we’ve been able to work with women who may not have access to help them receive mammograms and other health checks. Depending on the event and the location, sometimes we even have nurse practitioners there who are able to provide examinations on-site,” says Dr. Robinson.
Whether she is serving students through NEOMED’s Aneal Mohan Kohli Academic and Information Technology Center educating future medical professionals about the social determinants of health or connecting underserved women with breast health education resources, Dr. Robinson is making a difference in public health, one resource at a time.