2010 Scholar of Change: Melissa Thomas

2010 Scholar of Change: Melissa Thomas

Ph.D. in Public Health graduate Melissa Thomas combats healthcare disparities in rural Ohio
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#Publichealth grad @WaldenU educates Ohio Amish and Mennonite women about breast cancer via Project Hoffnung http://3bl.me/q84gm3

Multimedia from this Release

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 9:55am

CAMPAIGN: Walden University Scholars of Change

CONTENT: Multimedia with summary

Dr. Melissa Thomas has dedicated her life’s work to educating the Amish and Mennonite community in rural Appalachian Ohio—an underserved and often overlooked group of women—on the importance of breast cancer.

Since beginning her journey more than 14 years ago, Dr. Thomas has worked hard to overcome cultural challenges such as learning their unique language and gaining the trust of the highly-private community. Her Ph.D. in Public Health from Walden University and a grant from the National Cancer Institute have helped Dr. Thomas provide free access to mammography screening, breast health education and follow-up support to more than 2,000 individuals and their families. Since Dr. Thomas started her organization in 1997, it has screened more than 3,000 women in Ohio and recently expanded services to Indiana. Both its reach and grant funding have doubled since Walden recognized Dr. Thomas as a Scholar of Change in 2010.

Walden provided Melissa with an opportunity to serve communities without getting up and going to graduate school. If she had chosen a traditional institution that didn’t offer online course work, Melissa would have had to sacrifice the current work she was doing, which was her true passion.


For more than 40 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. The Scholars of Change program began in 2009 when Walden University invited students and alumni to help bring the university’s social change mission to life by submitting short videos demonstrating how they were applying their Walden education and experiences to effect positive social change around the globe. The videos demonstrate a learning experience that emphasizes Walden’s scholar-practitioner model, built on the belief that knowledge is most valuable when it is put to use in the interest of the greater good.

If you wish to use or share this video, please indicate the original version was part of Walden University’s Scholar of Change video contest.

CATEGORY: Education