Shannon Guillot-Wright, PhD

Vice Chair, Research and Health Policy, Department of Family Medicine
Sam and Elizabeth Nixon Professor of Family Medicine
Assistant Professor
Health Policy Research Director, Center for Violence Prevention

Department of Family Medicine

Shannon Guilllot-Wright, PhD is Vice Chair of Research and Health Policy in the Department of Family Medicine, UTMB. She also serves as faculty in UTMB’s Center for Violence Prevention. Her program of research focuses on structural violence, with a particular emphasis on the use of research evidence to foster equitable policies. She has conducted photo-ethnographic fieldwork with Filipino migrant seafarers to understand the systemic and structural production of health inequities as well as an ethnography exploring the use of research evidence in the U.S. Congress. Currently, she is conducting fieldwork with (im)migrant fishermen on the Gulf Coast, studying how work is a structural and social determinant of health. Dr. Guillot-Wright has published on structural violence, including social determinants of health, health policy, migrant health, and racial/ethnic health inequities in international and national journals and received research support from the CDC, Texas Medical Center's Health Policy Institute, the State of Texas - Office of the Governor, SW Ag Center, and numerous national Foundations. She was a selected artist for the National Academy of Medicine's Visualize Health Equity gallery and her work has been featured in the New York Times, National Public Radio, Houston Public Radio, Texas Monthly, TIME Magazine, and Houston Chronicle. She sits on the American Public Health Association’s Action Board as well as the Advisory Board for the Children’s Defense Fund – Texas. Dr. Guillot-Wright has her PhD in the Medical Humanities from UTMB, MA in Human Rights from Columbia University, and completed her postdoctoral training at the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State.

Research Interests

  • Migrant Health
  • Precarious Employment
  • Structural & Symbolic Violence
  • Health Policy and Systems Research,
  • Human Rights
  • Health Inequities
  • Photo-voice & Ethnographic Methodologies

Shannon Guillot-Wright, PhD

  • Impact of the Research-to-Policy Collaboration Model: Testing an Approach to Improve the Use of Evidence

    The ethnographic evaluation of the Research-to-Policy Collaboration, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, is a collaboration between the University of Texas Medical Branch, Penn State, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. We evaluated prominent barriers to congressional offices’ use of research evidence involve a lack of researcher-policymaker contact and capacity to write evidence-based legislation. This work evaluated an approach for improving the use of evidence in legislative policymaking—known as the RPC model. The Research-to-Policy Collaboration (RPC) Model seeks to address these barriers through a structured process for identifying policymakers’ priorities in youth focused areas, building capacity for researchers to respond to current policy priorities, facilitating productive researcher-policymaker interactions, and incorporating research evidence into legislative language. Specifically, we tested the RPC’s effectiveness through experimental design (randomization) using qualitative and quantitative assessments of researcher-policymaker interactions and impact. This includes collection of survey data from congressional staff and researchers, record review of policymaker’s public statements and introduced legislative language and qualitative interviews of researcher and congressional office experience from taking part in the RPC. This work provides unique insights about a theory-driven strategy for increasing federal legislators’ use of evidence through interactive discourse, legislative language, and public statements, which may expand the way policymakers think about child and family issues, rationalize specific policy solutions, or create data-driven structures that guide federal investments. Of particular opportunity, is that this work will provide unique insights into a promising strategy for increasing the use of evidence in federal legislative contexts.

    For more information, contact Shannon Guillot-Wright at

  • COVID-19 Prevention Among Seafood Processors

    The COVID-19 Prevention Among Seafood Processors, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a collaboration between the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the University of Texas Medical Branch.

    Research Goals
    1. Understand the experiences of seafood processing workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, has the historic exploitation of workers based on class, race, language, and nativity, affected safety and health during the COVID-19 pandemic? How has the pandemic affected the health and quality of life of workers and their communities? What can be done to improve safety and health?
    2. Use the research findings to improve workers’ well-being.

    For more information, contact Shannon Guillot-Wright at

  • Pilot/Feasibility Study of Gulf Coast Commercial Fishers’ Health Outcomes
    The pilot and feasibility study of health outcomes for Gulf Coast fishers is funded by the SW Ag Center.

    Although falls overboard, vessel disasters, and traumatic injuries are persistent concerns for commercial fishers, little is known about how to translate research findings to influence and improve maritime policy and practice. Moreover, the dearth of knowledge on the social context of workplace arrangements and the social determinants of health obscures the structural, geographic, historical, political, and economic factors that contribute to health disparities among commercial fishers. The future of work equity demands a research agenda that looks at occupational health holistically, including a focus on social and economic risk factors and a specification of social policies and policy prescriptions to promote equity in the workplace. Further, using science to improve occupational health policies for commercial fishing industries requires a synthesis of knowledge and an in-depth analysis. To address these gaps in knowledge, we examine commercial fishers’ oral history interviews to study the social and structural factors that impact their health outcomes. This data will inform future research translation to policymakers and practitioners to prevent traumatic injuries and their adverse health effects.

    For more information, contact Shannon Guillot-Wright at

  • Pilot/Feasibility Study of a Text Messaging Campaign for Gulf Coast Commercial Fishers
    The pilot and feasibility study of text messaging for Gulf Coast fishers is funded by the SW Ag Center.

    With a fatality rate 29 times higher than the national average, commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous industries in the US; especially true for the Gulf of Mexico, which ranks as one of the most vulnerable regions to experience falls overboard. Despite these statistics, commercial fishers are a woefully understudied population. Thus, there is a critical need for accessible, evidence-based interventions that improve safety and reduce injury for the well-being of these communities. Although falls overboard, vessel disasters, and traumatic injuries are persistent concerns for commercial fishers, little is known about how to translate research findings to influence and improve maritime practice. To address the need for accessible and evidence-based interventions, we are creating a text messaging campaign that is based in the science and research on safety and injury prevention for commercial fishers. The ubiquity of mobile devices and the success of text messaging campaigns to foster health literacy in other areas of social and behavioral health make text campaigns a promising source for health safety and injury prevention among commercial fishers. We conducted a literature review of fatal and non-fatal injury and injury prevention among Gulf Coast commercial fishers, including peer-reviewed research, reports, and trainings to identify safety and injury prevention initiatives and activities that can be condensed for a text campaign as well as create 36 text messages based on the literature review that promotes protective factors and decreases risk factors to prevent fatal and non-fatal fishing injuries in the Gulf of Mexico. We use rigorous analysis to study the complex factors that contribute to the adverse health outcomes of fishers and create jargon-free text messages that advance safety and safety training for fishers.

    For more information, contact Shannon Guillot-Wright at

  • Community Voices During COVID-19 Using Photovoice and Oral History
    Photovoice is a method that puts a camera in participants hands and gives them control over which photos are taken representing their life. Photovoice has three main goals: 1) to enable participants to record and reflect community’s strengths and concerns, 2) to promote critical dialogue and knowledge about important community issues through discussion of photographs, and 3) to reach decision-makers. For the purposes of this project, participants were asked to use the photos as a way to discuss COVID-19 experiences through an oral history interview.

    For more information, contact Shannon Guillot-Wright at

  • Association of American Medical Colleges: Communities, Social Justice, and Academic Medical Centers
    A collaboration among medical colleges in the U.S., this project is a study about how academic medical centers can actively partner with communities in the response to social injustice and the determinants of health. Partners gather perspectives from community residents across the US on the clinical, research, and education functions of academic medical centers to help achieve social justice. A film will be developed from the interviews and be part of the 2020 AAMC Annual Meeting.

    For more information, contact Shannon Guillot-Wright at

  • Contributing factors on slips, trips, and falls among Texas shrimp fishermen

    Funded by the Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education

    The shrimp industry is the largest income generator of all commercial fisheries along the Gulf of Mexico. It is also the deadliest. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), shrimp fisheries along the Gulf of Mexico have had the highest number of fatalities among all types of fisheries from 2000-2009. With few exceptions, there is limited published research on occupational safety and health of commercial fishermen in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Even less is understood of the social and structural variables related to injury and death. To fully understand obstacles of workplace safety and to reduce injuries among shrimp fishermen, a community based participatory research (CBPR) project is critical for capturing cultural, social, and structural factors that influence hazards and risks among Vietnamese and Latinx fishers. Therefore, this project uses photovoice, semi-structured interviews, and focus group discussions in among Vietnamese and Latinx fishers in Galveston and the Rio Grande Valley to understand and decrease fatal and non-fatal injury among migrant workers.