Jessie Barnett

Jessie Barnett, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer, CLI
Public Health
+1 507 258 8113
(507) 258-8066


Ph.D., University of Georgia, College of Public Health, 2013
M.P.H., University of Georgia, College of Public Health, 2010
B.B.A., University of Georgia, Terry College of Business, 2008

"Value the diversity of human experience." - Dr. Anneliese Singh


This is my fourth year at UMR and I enjoy investigating the wide world of public health. Public health focuses on the prevention of disease, disability, and death and the promotion of health and wellness at the population level.  UMR's Center for Learning Innovation is the place to confront challenges in health head-on, and my background in Public Health and Health Promotion and Behavior allow me to do just that. For the past several years, I have been exploring the connection between the environment and human health. UMR is a wonderful place analyze the future of public health -- and the future of public health education. 


For example, studies indicate improvement in a variety of health and wellness indicators after positive experiences in nature. Simultaneously, humans are losing our inherent and evolved connection with nature (biophilia) while suffering the consequences of harmful environmental exposures. Today’s health-focused students cannot address the significant and unprecedented health problems in isolation from broader environmental issues. From environmental considerations in clinical diagnostics to public health professionals involved in urban planning, the importance of increasing ecoliteracy in aspiring health and health care students cannot be understated. I have enjoyed working on these issues with health science students who possess exceptional foresight and the desire to make a large impact on the health of populations worldwide. This topic also opens the door for discussion about health disparities and health equity.


Before coming to UMR, I worked at the University of Georgia on a nationwide project studying substance abuse treatment centers. Specifically, we analyzed director/counselor/patient relationships and availability of smoking cessation services in treatment centers serving low-income clients. The project was a joint endeavor between researchers in the Public Health and Industrial-Organizational Psychology departments, and truly embodied the collaborative nature of successful work in public health. While at UGA, I also worked with the Center for Family Research on two projects. One evaluated the effectiveness of program dissemination by cooperative extension partners in rural Georgia counties, and the other was a longitudinal study investigating the relationship between chronic, racially influenced stress and physical health. My personal research and teaching at UGA centered around health equality, the LGBTQ population, and successful smoking cessation.


I teach public health courses at UMR, including: Introduction to Public Health - A Global Perspective, Health Policy in a Global Context, Environmental Health and Justice, Social Determinants of Health - How Inequality Makes Us Sick, and Qualitative Methods in Health and Health Care. I also am involved in teaching a history of epidemics course with Dr. James Ford, and work with Prof. Shanna Altrichter and Dr. Molly Dingel on health policy. 


My research addresses health disparities and behavior change, as well as work in teaching pedagogy and experiential learning. I also specialize in qualitative research methods.


Altrichter, S., & Barnett, J. (2017). Facilitating expeditionary learning techniques in the social science collegiate classroom. Journal of the Midwest Sociological Society. 


Barnett, J., Altrichter, S., Sedivy, P., & Suchla, N. We should talk: A reflective journey to optimizing IT/faculty relationships and student learning. Symposium on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, November 10-12, Banff, Alberta, Canada. (2016)


Barnett, J., & Muilenburg, J. Power in poetry: A journey to creative representation of  qualitative findings. The Twelfth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, May 18-21, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2016)


Barnett, J., Muilenburg, J., Johnson, C., Hou, Su-I., & Davis, M.  Successful smoking cessation: Does quitting for good mean sacrificing LGBTQ identity? American Public Health Association Conference, New Orleans, LA. (2014)