Himmelfarb Headlines - September / October 2018

Faculty Profile - Interview with Dr. Monique M. Turner, Associate Professor, Department of Prevention and Community Health

Faculty Profile - Interview with Dr. Monique M. Turner, Associate Professor, Department of Prevention and Community HealthTell us a little bit about yourself, your current position, and why you decided to pursue public health:
My name is Monique Turner--most people call me "Mo"--and I am a professor and Associate Dean at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. I grew up in Northern Michigan (nope, not the UP...but north) on a small farm that is still running today! I spend most of my time with my kids (Maya and Macy) who play sports and keep things lively.

How did you become interested in your field?
I've always been fascinated by the impact that communication can have in our lives. An inspiring ad or speech can make us question our behaviors, think differently, and act differently. But, the real question is when does that happen and why? What are the best ways to communicate to particular audiences? This is what brought me to the study of emotional appeals--I am intrigued by experimentally assessing the effects of emotions like anger and guilt.

What brought you to GW?
I had been a faculty member at the University of Maryland for 7 years--in the Dept of Communication. But, I was working on public health issues. I realized that if I wanted to take my work to the "next level" I might want to understand health more deeply. And, I thought I could grow quite a bit by challenging myself. So, I applied here and got the job!

What has been your most memorable moment at GW?
After a particularly upsetting news event, I had to teach 125 students in my core course. I could tell they were not okay. So, I asked them if they wanted to have class as normal--or if they wanted to talk. They chose the latter--and it was amazing, but, hard. People cried. People disclosed. But, we started to heal.

What has been your biggest professional challenge?
As Associate Dean I often have to see and hear the worst. We may have 2500 amazing students (and we do), but, I'll spend hours on one horrible care. I have to look at these issues from every angle, talk to multiple parties, and make difficult decisions. That is challenging.

What library resources or services have you found to be the most useful?
All of them! I use endnote-so that is particularly helpful.

Whom do you admire?
A lot of people--but, I would mention Maya Angelou and Barack Obama. Their words continue to inspire me and make me want to be better. My daughter, Maya, was named for Dr. Angelou.

How do you spend your free time? (or What do you do to relax?)
I get up before 5am most mornings and work out. I love training for some event--but, the last year I've been injured and have had to stop. So, I look forward to getting back at it. I also spend a lot of time at the girls' soccer or basketball games.

What advice would you give to a new faculty member just starting at GW?
Network, network, network. Build your team in a strategic and thoughtful way--you need collaborators.


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