Three photos of a shrimp boat, UTMB Health, and a photo froma photovoice project taken by a seafarer.

Health Policy Research: About



Based on the critical need for evidence-informed policy that improves the well-being of our communities, we created the Health Policy Research initiative for policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and the media.

Through growing bipartisan interest in using scientific evidence to inform legislation and interventions and through empirical studies of evidence-use, our team recognized the need to focus on dissemination, translation, and systems change.

We use simple storytelling techniques to highlight the moral and political value of solutions by building coalitions and networks, responding to policymakers problems, and producing creative and feasible policy products that are grounded in evidence.

Alongside these efforts, the Health Policy Research team continues to study and analyze evidence-use at the federal, state, and local level.


Health Policy Research: Our Team


Health Policy Research Bios

Shannon Guillot-Wright, PhD


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.

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

Lacy Davis, MA


Lacy Davis is a Research Manager for UTMB’s Center for Violence Prevention. Lacy has an MA in International Affairs from The New School, with a concentration in Governance and Rights. In the past, she coordinated educational research projects at Sesame Workshop - the organization behind Sesame Street - and the award-winning educational app development company, Toca Boca. She supported Sesame Street’s digital curriculum and content, educational programs, and international social impact research. Lacy manages projects in CVP’s Health Policy Research division, specifically ones related to occupational health equity among migrant workers. She is a recent transplant to Galveston and is looking forward to exploring the island, spending time on the beach, and involving herself in the community. 

Research Manager

Linh Truong, PA student


Linh Truong was born and raised in Vietnam. At the age of 14, she left for Singapore where she finished high school and worked as a Vietnamese-English medical translator. She then moved to the US and completed her bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Mathematics at Texas A&M University-Commerce. During her time at the university, she co-published two research papers in quantitative chemistry on the modification of peptides in the human body. She also worked as a pharmacy technician for a retail pharmacy. Linh is currently a Physician Assistant student at UTMB. She aspires to become an Endocrinology Physician Assistant upon graduation.

Occupational Health Equity Coordinator

Bianca Obinyan, MD/MPH student


Bianca Obinyan is a dual degree MD-MPH candidate at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) School of Medicine. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her work as Health Policy Research Coordinator includes adapting an existing violence prevention program to be trauma-informed and racially sensitive to better understand how to reduce teen dating violence among ethnically and economically diverse groups. She also collaborates with community-based initiatives where she recommends evidence-based and data-driven policies to eliminate exclusionary discipline disparities in Galveston Independent School District. She received UTMB’s US Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Award for her dedication to the community.

Health Policy Research Coordinator