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Research spotlight: Allyson Hughes, Ph.D.

October 17, 2022

Allyson Hughes, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of primary care at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her research centers on health policy related to the intersection of diabetes and disabilities. She is also a member of the Diabetes Institute. Read more about her here

How her research is unique: 

Working with people always provides unique experiences. Hughes says when she interviews participants, they are often excited about the research, yet exhausted and distressed by diabetes. When interviewing, she focuses on being emotionally supportive as she asks people to discuss their diabetes distress. This past summer, Hughes worked with the Diabetes Institute’s CAT Camp, a day camp for southeastern Ohio youth with Type 1 diabetes. She found it rewarding to see the children, typically ages 8-16, excited to learn more about diabetes.  

Why research is rewarding: 

For Hughes, her research is rewarding on a personal level. She has lived with diabetes for nearly three decades and can give back to her community and improve their care, which is why she works in behavioral medicine. Hughes says she aims to promote the voice of people with diabetes and their caregivers.  

Importance of her research: 

Hughes says that the research she conducts is important for many reasons. The first reason is the huge population affected by diabetes across the world. In spite of this, there has been a decline in health care professionals and specialists treating diabetes. This is cause for concern for those who need specialty care. It is also important to think about diabetes in relation to disability, it can happen to anyone and impact them at any time. 

Overview of cluster hire: 

Hughes is one of three faculty members hired by Heritage College as part of a cluster hire focused on researching social determinants of health. Hughes says the cluster hire is like a Venn diagram, they all have overlapping interests that allows them to work together on dynamic research and bring grant money to the university. Read more about the cluster hire here.