The Center for Healthcare Policy and Research is excited to introduce Melissa Gosdin, PhD, a Qualitative Research Analyst. Coming to UC Davis from Albany State University in Georgia where she was an Assistant Professor of Sociology, she brings 12 years of qualitative research experience and expertise in qualitative and mixed methods studies. She has been involved in all phases of qualitative research projects including study design, data collection, and data analysis. She also has experience with conducting focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnography, drawing analysis, and photo elicitation.   Joy Melnikow, the director of CHPR plans that Gosdin will “provide critically needed expertise in qualitative methods for researchers across UC Davis”. Gosdin also has experience in program evaluation and her  many professional memberships include the American Evaluation Association.

Gosdin is especially interested in community based participatory research “where you actually go out in the community and talk to the stakeholders, and see what their needs are.” She enjoys applied research, or “research that will actually help people” and believes the research conducted at CHPR will directly impact the community. Gosdin is excited to work with a team that is invested from beginning to end, providing opportunities to directly impact policy; “sometimes in academia, research is written just to publish, and later just sits in a journal. I want to be able to directly disseminate the research that I work on.”

Receiving a Bachelor in communications from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, Gosdin worked as a journalist with Texas Technology Magazine. While working for the magazine Melissa noted, “I enjoyed writing the feature stories about the people, but not so much the technology.” It was during her career as a journalist that Gosdin realized her love for the untold stories behind people. She decided to pursue a Master’s degree, and later a PhD, in Sociology at the University of North Texas.  While completing her degrees, Gosdin researched postpartum depression and the effects on Mexican American adolescent mothers concerning perceptions, stigma, and body image. She has also conducted research involving perceptions of mental health, and mental health disparities among African Americans. Gosdin’s specialty is Medical Sociology with interests in healthcare utilization, health disparities, and mental health. She feels that “health is a basic human right, and it’s the foundation of life. Success is difficult without good mental and physical health.” Her current research interests involve gender, race, and class, including complex social issues involving intersectionality, and how these roles may influence communication between clinician and patient.

Since her arrival in early August, Gosdin has begun work on three projects with CHPR investigators. She is analyzing focus group transcripts for Julie Schweitzers’ project Participant-Driven Engagement for Advancing the Dissemination of Diagnosis and Treatment for Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Patrick Ramano’s project Understanding Consumers Views on Cost Sharing. She is also working with Ladson Hinton and Stuart Henderson to evaluate a grant for an initiative to develop new models of care for older adults with depression, which is a a joint endeavor between UC Davis and the University of Washington funded by the Archstone Foundation.   She will also be included in grant proposals for qualitative research related to the delivery of mental health services in California and access to care for Medi-Cal patients.