Dr. Gemma Skuraton (pronouns: she/her) is the Director of Student Wellness & Health Promotion for a mid-size institution in the Southeast. Gemma completed a Doctorate and a Masters degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Community Health Behavior and Education as well as an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology, majoring in Exercise Science and Athletic Training. Gemma is a community-based participatory researcher primarily centered around designing, implementing, and evaluating health & wellness co-curricula. Gemma seeks to facilitate community empowerment, capacity building, and advocacy in an effort to address health disparities by identifying social determinants of health. Gemma has several practical and research focuses.
Gemma is a trained contact tracer from John Hopkins University, a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer, Level I Sports Performance Coach through USA Weightlifting and maintains many additional functional movements and fitness/wellness certifications. Gemma has provided wellness consulting for multiple military installations and her dissertation research focused on functional movement screenings and health behavior assessments tested among ROTC. As a result of this research; she developed and implemented an ROTC Injury Prevention Program; a holistic and comprehensive injury prevention program designed to provide cadets with opportunities to learn how they can improve their level of health, improve sports performance and reduce health and injury risks. Gemma is also the co-creator of Mindful Yoga, a mental health program that was awarded Best Clinical Mental Health Program of the Year in Southeast Georgia in 2019.
Gemma is a member of both institutional and community level Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART), a Certified Victims Advocate for a local Rape Crisis as well as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for a second Rape Crisis Center. Gemma’s research line includes evaluating the effectiveness of the interpersonal violence primary prevention curriculum. Gemma has presented her research at several national conferences, consulted with multiple institutions regarding her findings, and is currently being utilized by two Board of Regents University System Offices in an effort to reevaluate their mandated sexual violence prevention curriculum within their state. Gemma has created a mandatory Comprehensive Sexual Assault Curriculum for University Athletics in compliance with Title IX and NCAA regulations and well as Comprehensive Violence Prevention Curriculum for Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Gemma is a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) through the Institute for Diversity Certification. Gemma has experience in navigating intervention frameworks and grassroots efforts that support a systems-level approach. She operates under the philosophy that we should not be just treating the signs and symptoms of a person’s illness but we should also be addressing what made them sick in the first place. Gemma operates under the philosophy that successful public health work is rooted in social justice which strives to support health equity and health literacy for all. This framework requires us to examine and address social determinants of health as well as identify and dismantle systematic oppression which impacts the wellbeing of marginalized populations. As a public health professional working in higher education, this provides Gemma with a powerful modality to affect change. The conceptual frameworks which Gemma utilizes to implement and assess unique, multifaceted, and dynamic public health best practices within university and community settings are the socio-ecological model, structural violence theory, nine principles of effective prevention framework promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), best practice guidelines from the National College Health Association (NCHA), Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Cross-Functional Framework, Healthy Campus Framework and Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) compliance standards.