Dr. Noel is an Assistant Professor and Meadows Foundation Fellow in Quality of Life in the Rural Environment at the Steve Hick’s School of Social Work. Her research investigates the influence of inequities in social drivers of health and access to mental health services on the utilization of timely medical treatment, particularly within residentially isolated rural communities. She has a passion for conducting community-based system science research and has a wealth of experience engaging communities, social scientists, mental health professionals, and medical practitioners in such research partnerships. She has also successfully recruited members of marginalized populations into community-engaged research. Dr. Noel first came to Steve Hicks School of Social Work as the Donald D Harrington Faculty Fellow, conducting research in rural Central Texas. A fellowship from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health in partnership with the State of Texas Health and Human Service Commission Rural Mental Health Behavioral Health Services Department followed this. Through this project, Dr. Noel engaged Texans from 7 regions of the state who lived in rural communities in a community-based system modeling project to identify the community-level factors influencing access to mental health services for rural Texans. In addition, the American Cancer Society currently funds Dr. Noel through a UT Livestrong Cancer Institute faculty innovation grant, through which she is engaging with community partners to address access to mental health and cancer care service delivery for cancer survivors who live in rural Central Texas. Dr. Noel’s work in rural health equity has also been recognized nationally. She is on the Board of Directors for the Association of Community Cancer Centers and the Board of Directors of the Association of Oncology Social Workers.
Health social work; social determinants of health; patient-provider communication; health care decision making; community-engaged research; vulnerable populations; system science.