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