Joni D. Nelson

Joni D. Nelson, PhD, MS is an Assistant Professor and Deputy Director in the Division of Population Oral Health at the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina and also serves in a dual appointment role in the Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Medicine.  As a Health Promotion, Education and Behavioral specialist Dr. Nelson’s research foci are qualitative research evaluation, social determinants of health equity, quality improvement science and collaborative care workforce models to reduce rural oral health inequities, in support of an interprofessional approach to improve population health outcomes.  She is the program director for the Dental Safety Net Certificate Program and teaches a public health research methods course. She was appointed as a 2017 National Rural Health Association Fellow and serves as the National State Representative of South Carolina for DentaQuest Foundation’s Oral Health 2020 Network, an initiative to improve oral health for all.  These are among the many experiences that have contributed to her broad public health perspective and capacity to work with programs addressing opportunities to enrich the oral health outcomes of individuals across the lifespan.


PhD, Health Promotion, Education and Behavior

Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina

MS, Biomedical Sciences

Medical University of South Carolina

BS, Biological Sciences

University of South Carolina


Principles of Public Health

Program Planning and Evaluation

Practice Experience


Current Research

My primary research focus is Public Health and Population Health Prevention Research.  I currently act as the lead Qualitative Evaluation Analytic Specialist, monitoring and evaluation of the interprofessional activities of the ROADtrip initiative, supported through the Health Resources and Services Administration (2015-present).

Research Interests

Social Determinants of Health and Access to Care, Oral Health Disparities in the US, Interprofessional Collaborations as a Strategy to Improve Population 

This website uses cookies to understand how you use the website and to improve your experience. By continuing to use the website, you accept the University of New England’s use of cookies and similar technologies. To learn more about our use of cookies and how to manage your browser cookie settings, please review our Privacy Notice.


Joni Nelson

Joni D. Nelson



Off Campus

(843) 906-4573

Teaching Online