Dr. Marian Levy

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Dr. Marian Levy, assistant dean of students in the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis

Who I am…

My name is Dr. Marian Levy. I’m the assistant dean of students in public health practice in the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis. Overall, I’m responsible for developing and ensuring the quality of student learning and their academic experience.

What led me here…

There was a call for grants when I was at UT and we knew that African-American children were more obese than their Caucasian counterparts, but we knew nothing about the Latino population and we thought what are the healthcare needs are of this population?

When we got the grant, the first thing we did was go to Latino Memphis. Espi Ralston was president and she said, “I would like to work with you on that.” She has really guided us and served as a mentor for me to explore and respect and understand the Latino perspective.

Since 2005 we’ve had a healthcare interpreter program. You learn medical terminology, parts of the body. You also learn how to interact with the patient. For example, when the doctor speaks with the patient, the doctor does not look at the interpreter, the doctor looks directly at the patient. So the interpreter has a role, but he or she is very careful not to inject her opinions, but to serve as a resource for both parties.

The importance of cultural competency is…

The minority is becoming the majority. So it’s incumbent upon us to accept different groups and understand where they’re coming from, especially in healthcare where the ability to communicate with patients about their condition, about how they need to take care of themselves is extremely important.

If it’s not in a culturally competent manner, the patient is not going to accept it and as a result, they’re not going to follow the doctor or the nurse’s advice.

The difference between Hispanic and Latino is…

Hispanic is mainly people who come from Spain. Latino is Latin American countries and Mexico.

How faith plays a role in my work…

I think understanding a person’s perspective also means understanding their faith orientation and how that plays into their world view and how that plays into their interests in their health and their feeling of control over their health.

I define healthcare as…

Healthcare in its narrowest sense is medical care, but health and wellness is the way a person treats themselves, the way they take care of their body.

One of Memphis’ greatest healthcare challenges is…

I think we have enough hospitals and we have excellent healthcare providers. I think the biggest challenge is for people to understand that they’re in charge of their own health and the responsibility to take care of their own bodies, their families’, and also their community.

They have to be concerned with the opportunities to promote health in our community.

But what Memphis healthcare is doing right is…

I have our button that says “Public Health Is Everybody’s Business.” I think people have gotten that message. And I think there’re a lot of close collaborations that are very exciting.

The biggest challenge in my healthcare work is…

My biggest challenge is getting out the word that the School of Public Health is here and we can train people, give them the skills they need to really make a difference in our community and in other communities, but I want the students we train to stay in Memphis and contribute to the growth and, and the revitalization in our community.

 The greatest reward in my University of Memphis healthcare work is…

I think it’s the work that our students do that’s the most rewarding.

The greatest reward in my Latino Memphis healthcare work is…

It’s the joy that we’re making a difference in people’s lives and giving people hope and helping people become healthier.

Learn more about the University of Memphis School of Public Health.

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