Ricky Camplain and Olivia Lindly both received the Northern Arizona University Researcher of the Year for Health Sciences, and Brettania O’Connor was named Innovator of the Year at the recommendation of the Honors and Scholarship committee.
Camplain is an assistant professor in Northern Arizona University’s Department of Health Sciences and epidemiologist at the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER); Lindly is an assistant professor in health sciences and researcher with the Southwest Health Equity Research Collaborative, (SHERC); and O’Connor is an assistant clinical professor and epidemiologist from the Department of Health Sciences.
Camplain’s research focuses on chronic disease prevention and health promotion, such as physical activity and sedentary behavior, with a primary focus on understanding, in partnerships with communities, the health needs of vulnerable populations, particularly the intersection of being Indigenous and incarcerated.
She employs epidemiologic methods to determine how culture, policy, and the social and structural determinants of health in the correctional system can impact healthy behavior and social justice.
“Ricky Camplain has been a research powerhouse this past year –– publishing nine papers this past year,” said Dierdra Bycura, chair of the NAU Department of Health Sciences and associate professor in fitness wellness. “She is part of several grant funded projects and has completed multiple presentations over the past year, including at the Academic and Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health, RCMI Program National Conference, and American Public Health Association Conference. She also mentors multiple MPH students graduate research projects, many of whom have won awards for their work! She is two years into a tenure track position and already has many incredible accomplishments.”
Through her research, Lindly works to advance child health, especially for children with special health care needs such as autism. Her two main research program areas include identifying determinants of child health inequities and developing programs that support parents in optimizing child and family health.
With grant support, she is currently working to develop a policy index for early autism screening in states including Arizona (NIMH R01) and to pilot a parent education and training program for Navajo children with autism through her SHERC Pilot Project Program and the Organization for Autism Research.
“Olivia Lindly has published multiple papers, been awarded several grants and recently won the 2021 Nemours Child Health Services Research Award — a national award recognizing the scientific work of emerging scholars in the field of child health services research” Bycura said. “All of this while balancing a high teaching load, maternity leave, and a newborn!”
O’Connor and Camplain created a four-part Infectious Disease Epidemiology Bootcamp in July through SHERC. The successful series introduced the concepts and principles of infectious disease epidemiology and the control of infectious disease. O’Connor also co-taught a summer 2020 course titled Meaning-Making in a Pandemic with NAU faculty Associate Professor Ira Allen, Department of English; Assistant Professor Joseph Guzman, Department of Economics; Professor Sumner Sydeman, Department of Psychological Sciences; and Assistant Professor Lindsay Wilson, Department of History.
O’Connor’s research focuses on environmental health, epidemiologic methods, disparities in access to healthcare, rural health, and both chronic and infectious disease epidemiology. She is interested in evidence-based best teaching practices and has earned the Association of College and University Educator’s (ACUE) Effective Teaching Practices credentials.
“After the COVID pandemic hit, she quickly implemented training for students and community members to do contact tracing through a summer boot camp and included infectious disease training opportunities in her MPH summer courses,” Bycura said of O’Connor. “She continues to work with Coconino County on COVID-related efforts and continues to work with students on infectious disease research projects. Her innovative efforts will lead to a long-term, positive impact for both NAU and our community.”