For the past 10 years, Dr. Thomas has worked as a public/community health nurse in the areas of school nursing, hospice, home health care, and primary care of US/global indigent populations. Her interests in health promotion and disease prevention led her to explore health disparities in cancer screening among different racial/ethnic minority groups. For almost a decade, her program of research has focused on White, Hispanic, African American, and American Indian women’s mammography-screening behaviors. Findings from her qualitative research led to the identification of the Breast Conflict model and the development of a new predictive instrument that should be useful in identifying women who may not follow recommended mammography-screening guidelines. The next phase in the development of this instrument will focus on predictive validity within and across diverse racial/ethnic groups.
Recently Dr. Thomas expanded her research focus to include men’s knowledge and beliefs pertaining to colorectal, prostate, and male breast cancer. Knowledge gained from this study will aid in the development of educational interventions that address masculinity and gender specific issues. Dr. Thomas developed and teaches the Global Health course, a graduate-level elective designed to increase awareness of global health issues. She recently completed certification for international public health and is making plans to travel to an underdeveloped country within the next few years.