Marcia Walsh, Ph.D.
Department of Health Sciences
B.S., Stonehill College; Ph.D., University of Rhode Island; Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Courses taught: Clinical Microbiology, Nutrition, Diet and Health, Nutritional Biochemistry, Global Public Health, Senior Thesis Research
Research Interests: Our laboratory is involved in a new community-based research project to determine the occurrence and frequency of the pathogenic microorganism Staphylococcus aureus in our campus community and in the wider Merrimack Valley community. This organism is found on the skin and in the nasal passages of about 30% of healthy carriers, and is known to be associated with localized skin infections as well as systemic infections that have a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Some strains of Staphylococcus aureus have become resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics such as methicillin, and over the last several years, this organism known as MRSA, has become an important public health threat both in hospital-acquired infections, and more recently in community-associated settings. Working with undergraduate students in the clinical microbiology laboratory, we have undertaken a study to determine the prevalence of methicillin sensitive and methicillin resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus in our community.
Educational interests: An important aspect of our educational programs in Health Science and Sports Medicine is to integrate into our curriculum opportunities for student engagement focused on real world problems in health, wellness and human performance. To that end, I have worked to support our academic programs through partnerships and affiliations with numerous healthcare and educational facilities in the Merrimack Valley. We have made civic engagement and social responsibility a cornerstone of our curriculum by examining the important issues facing community and global health and welfare, and by integrating community service opportunities for our students into our programs to help provide solutions to the complex problems that face us in the health and wellness field. The National Leadership Board of the National Center has elected me to a SENCER Leadership Fellow position for Science and Civic Engagement. Fellowships honor educators for their exemplary leadership and commitment to the improvement of science, technology engineering and mathematics education.