January 9, 2018 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Office of the Vice President for Research selected just six USC faculty members to receive Breakthrough Leadership in Research Awards this year. Janice Probst, professor of health services policy and management (HSPM) and director of the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center (SCRHRC), was chosen from among numerous nominations across the university for her mentorship of junior faculty, establishment of a research center with wide-reaching impact, community engagement and creation of programs aimed at increasing diversity.
“It is so exciting to see the ranks of distinguished Breakthrough award recipients grow each year,” says USC Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti. “My office is privileged to honor our tried-and-true research leaders, our most promising early-career faculty and the best and brightest graduate student researchers working in every discipline throughout the USC System."
Our environment promotes mutual learning, engages students creatively in every stage of the research process, and is inclusive of faculty across multiple schools and disciplines.
-Janice Probst, HSPM professor
Probst has been a mainstay of the university since she enrolled at the Arnold School in 1987 to earn a Ph.D. in health administration. After 10 years as a health policy consultant, public health adjunct instructor and clinical faculty member at the USC School of Medicine, Probst returned to the Arnold School on a full-time basis in 2000 as an associate professor in the HSPM department and quickly became recognized for her growing expertise in rural health disparities.
At this time, she also took on the role of deputy director for SCRHRC—transitioning to lead as director three years later. Over her 17 years with the Center, which focuses on addressing health inequalities, the USC Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award winner has helped secure $9.3 million in funding support and leveraged the Center’s capabilities to garner an additional $6.6 million. In total, Probst and her team have been awarded a total of $18.8 million in research funding between 2000 and 2017.
In the past 17 years, the 2012 Arnold School of Public Health Faculty Research Award winner has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on 14 grants and published more than 120 peer-reviewed papers—most of them co-authored with junior faculty mentees and students. She uses these projects as a springboard for advancing rural health and helping faculty and students launch their careers in the underserved and understudied area.
“Our environment promotes mutual learning, engages students creatively in every stage of the research process, and is inclusive of faculty and students across multiple schools and disciplines,” Probst says. “Creation of this research culture, rather than any single paper or project, is my principal accomplishment as a leader.”
Probst’s dedication to mentorship has benefited the many students she has guided over the years. The 2004 James A. Keith Excellence in Teaching Award winner served as her department’s graduate director for eight years and has overseen 47 doctoral dissertations, with another nine in development.
“Dr. Probst has singularly mentored a constellation of public health scientists, sending us out to advance rural health equity using the scientific tools with which she equipped us,” says Amy Brock Martin, an associate professor at the Medicial University of South Carolina and a former student of Probst. “Her illustrious career provides a blueprint for proliferating research leaders.”
Dr. Probst has singularly mentored a constellation of public health scientists, sending us out to advance rural health equity using the scientific tools with which she equipped us.
-Amy Brock Martin, DrPH in HSPM alumna
Her commitment to service extends beyond the university to entities, such as the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (board of directors), the National Rural Health Association’s Health Equity Council, and the Rural Health Information Hub (advisory board). Select additional awards for Probst include South Carolina Rural Health Association Researcher of the Year (2001), American College of of Healthcare Executives Regent’s Award (2004), National Rural Health Association Distinguished Researcher Award (2005) and National Rural Health Association Volunteer of the Year (2016).
“Dr. Probst’s involvement in research, training, mentoring of students and faculty, and service to the university and the community are exemplary,” says HSPM chair Mahmud Khan. “Her accomplishments clearly place her among the very best in the School and nationally, and this award recognizes her lifetime contribution to the field of rural health policy research.”
Probst will be featured as a 2018 Breakthrough Leader in a special supplement of Breakthrough magazine and honored at the Breakthrough Awards Dinner in the spring.