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Kenzie A. Cameron, Service Award Winner and Hooding Ceremony Faculty Marshal

Modified: June 8, 2016

Kenzie A. Cameron, PhD, MPH is a Research Associate Professor in the Feinberg School of Medicine. She is a health services researcher, with a background in health communication, persuasion and interpersonal communication. Much of her own research focuses on designing messages to promote preventative care, including flu shots, colorectal screening and similar services, through a wide variety of channels, with a particular focus on addressing racial and ethnic disparities. She is a faculty member in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics in the Department of Medicine, but she also teaches a core course in the Program in Public Health, where she interacts with students in The Graduate School.

“I’m trained in communication but work within a clinical department, which gives me a chance to work with many different colleagues on critical health issues and services,” Kenzie says. “In addition to my own research, I serve as a co-investigator on many projects because of my qualitative expertise. To be able to take communication to the heart of medicine and feel in some way that what I’ve done has made a difference in someone’s life and a family’s life is really meaningful.”

Kenzie’s work explores new approaches to promoting preventive care, including projects encouraging adults over 65 to get flu shots and pneumococcal vaccinations. She collaborates closely with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students, and her partnerships with her colleagues was no doubt one of the reasons she received one of Feinberg’s two Mentor of the Year awards this year.

Kenzie is known in The Graduate School for her outstanding advocacy for graduate students, for which she received TGS’s Faculty Award for Service earlier this year, and for her annual participation as a faculty marshal in our PhD and MFA Hooding Ceremony. She has participated in the ceremony every year but one since 2004. After assisting with lining up the faculty, she leads the faculty procession, and directs faculty to where they need to go on stage during the ceremony to make sure it runs smoothly. A devoted participant in all things commencement, Kenzie had to order a new academic hood this year because hers faded from frequent use.

“I have always loved tradition and ritual, which was in part instilled in me by my father, who was given the title of University Marshal Emeritus at The Pennsylvania State University after years of serving as a faculty marshal and a university marshal,” she says. “He’s 77 years old and to this day serves as a nomenclator for several ceremonies. I remember how much my own hooding ceremony meant to me and my family – with some behind-the-scenes help, I was able to have my father hood me at my PhD ceremony at Michigan State University.” Looking back at her PhD graduation, Kenzie remembers it as being somewhat “bittersweet” as she bid farewell to mentors, classmates, and newly minted colleagues while at the same time celebrating the recognition of earning a PhD coupled with excitement for the future.

When asked about her approach to mentoring, Kenzie says, “I put a lot of time into mentoring, both because I enjoy the collaboration, but also because I was fortunate to have had amazing mentors myself. Understanding what an individual needs whatever the time, day or stage of career is critical. Receiving Feinberg’s Mentor of the Year award means so much to me because it suggests that all of the time and effort people have put into me over the years to help me develop has been passed on. There’s a chain of mentoring at play: we’re a product of many mentors of our own. I would not be where I am without my graduate advisor, and he would not be where he is without his advisor, and so on. It’s all about paying it forward.”

TGS’s PhD and MFA Ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 16, 2016. It will be streamed on TGS’s website, where you’ll be able to see Kenzie in her role as faculty marshal.

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