Research Assistant Honored for Public Health Achievements

thornePam Thorne, research assistant and laboratory manager in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Biomedical Sciences, has been selected for induction into MU’s Gamma Eta chapter of Delta Omega, the honorary society in public health. Members are selected for outstanding scholarly achievement and dedication to public health.

Thorne is pursuing a master’s degree in public health at MU. She was one of four MPH students chosen to join Gamma Eta this year, in addition to 10 alumni and one faculty member.

The purpose of Gamma Eta is to enhance connections between public health research and practice and to foster relationships among MPH scholars, alumni, researchers and practitioners, and those in related scientific and social disciplines.

“Public health is important because it addresses the health of entire populations by looking at the big picture rather than simply focusing on treating individuals,” Thorne said. “My primary interests involve preventable diseases and their cost on our society.”

In her role as a research assistant and laboratory manager, Thorne supervises and trains staff, undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in procedures and techniques used in the laboratory of Dr. Harold Laughlin, professor and chair of Biomedical Sciences. Thorne is responsible for the daily operations of the lab, collecting, analyzing and presenting data, developing new techniques, writing laboratory and animal use protocols, and ensuring proper use and care of laboratory animals.

Thorne has worked in Laughlin’s lab for 23 years studying the effects of exercise on cardiovascular disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. In her more than 30 years of research experience at MU, she has contributed to work presented in scientific journal articles, seminars and scientific conferences and has co-authored numerous journal articles and abstracts.

When Thorne retires from research, she plans to shift her focus to prevention and promotion programs in schools, businesses and communities, she said. She is particularly interested in workplace wellness programs and has been asked to assist in developing a wellness program for a private college in mid-Missouri. As the CVM Wellness Ambassador, she promotes health in the workplace by making colleagues aware of programs offered through the MU Healthy for Life program.

Delta Omega was founded in 1924 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health to recognize outstanding achievement in public health, a field that was still in its infancy. Today the honorary society has expanded to more than 80 chapters throughout the world and more than 15,000 members.