Assistant Professor Cheryl Woods Giscombe, PhD, MSN, RN, was highlighted in the front-page story of the University Gazette. The story explores Dr. Giscombe’s philosophy on public service and her commitment to caring for others.
Dr. Giscombe spoke of her upbringing in Roxboro, NC and how her parents taught her the value of caring. Her father was a dentist, and her mother a social worker. Often, her mother would visit clients after hours or bring them home for supper if they had nowhere else to go.
Her parents’ selflessness influenced Dr. Giscombe’s career trajectory. While pursuing her doctorate in psychology at Stony Brook University, Dr. Giscombe realized that she wanted to become a nurse. She was surprised to find that her advisor, Marci Lobel, liked the idea and encouraged Dr. Giscombe to pursue her interest in nursing.
Earning her nursing degree has enhanced Dr. Giscombe’s research. Many of her studies are designed to understand stress-related health disparities among African Americans. Her experiences as a psychiatric nurse at UNC Hospitals helped her develop the “Superwoman Schema”, which is a theoretical framework she created to explain the physiological costs to African American women who feel pressure to project strength in their everyday lives. Through this framework, Dr. Giscombe has demonstrated that health disparities between African American women and white women could be partially attributed to cultural differences in how women cope with stress.
A board-certified psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, Dr. Giscombe practices part-time at CAARE Inc., a non-profit community agency in Downtown Durham that offers free medical care to underserved groups. Dr. Giscombe’s brought her daughters Zuri and Zola with her to CAARE so they could see the value of helping people. Both girls are now part of the Kid’s CAARE Club, which Zuri started to help the clients at CAARE. The value of public service Dr. Giscombe learned from her parents has already been passed on.
Visit the University Gazette website to read the entire feature.