News - Alumna to Join Research Team on Smoking Cessation

Alumna to Join Research Team on Smoking Cessation

Rachel Heston-Davis Alumna to Join Research Team on Smoking Cessation

      “Helping individuals be the best they can be” is the attitude Dominique Brown ’08 built her career on. After earning a bachelor of science in psychology, Dominique’s motto guided her through jobs counseling youth in a chemical dependency program, managing foster and adoption cases, coordinating services for HIV patients and advocating for impoverished individuals seeking economic stability.

     This year, Dominique takes her career to the next level. With a master’s degree from Lindenwood University fresh under her belt, Dominique will join a research team studying smoking cessation through Washington University’s Health Communication Research Laboratory (HCRL) at the Brown School of Social Work.

      The HCRL seeks to improve healthcare information to low-income and minority populations. The five-year project aims to boost the success rate of the smoking cessation program by meeting clients’ other physical and economic needs. A healthy, secure life may make it easier for clients to give up tobacco products.

      Dominique will track the progress of program participants, assess their needs and coordinate service providers to meet those needs.

 The Impact of Helping Hands

     Dominique chose a career helping others because she’s benefited from helping hands in her own life.

      Her single mother, the late Naomi Brown, was a long-time employee of Greenville University (then Greenville College). Naomi raised Dominique with support from friends, church members and fellow Greenville citizens. Dominique realized from a young age that this “village” approach—the dedication to supporting each other—made life better for herself and her mother.

      “Greenville as a whole made me who I am,” Dominique says of the town. She proudly refers to herself as “Greenville, Illinois homegrown.”

      Dominique felt the urge to pay it forward as she grew older. “It’s almost like a natural talent that I have, to motivate and encourage people,” she realized about herself. Using that to build a career made sense.

Challenges and Rewards

Dominique’s career in social work brings both rewards and challenges. Her most rewarding role involved coordinating services for individuals with HIV. She connected them to resources for housing and other needs, as well as organizing programs for the individuals and their families.

       “It was something I’ll never forget,” she says. “It grew me as a social worker. It grew me as an individual.”

       Her biggest challenge is facing clients who don’t believe Dominique can relate to their situations.

        “They feel as though I haven’t gone through what they’ve gone through, so how do I have the right answers?” Dominique explains.

       But a little candor goes a long way. Dominique doesn’t mind sharing with clients that she’s had struggles, too, albeit different struggles. That kind of transparency helps break the ice and forge relationships. 

A New Arena to Serve

      For her future, Dominique envisions a new arena in which to serve: higher education. Her work with the team at the HCRL functions as a promising transition into that world.

      She plans to earn her PhD in higher education and work in admissions and recruitment for a college or university. That desire circles back to the critical question: “What can I do for you?”

     Building relationships with students, encouraging their passion for education and helping them choose an institution strikes her as a great fit for her strengths.


Learn More

 When Disaster Strikes: The Curious Appeal of Crisis Response

Beyond the Badge: Dual Internships Profit Problem Solver, People Helper

Entering the Whirlwind--Alumnus Shows How Faith Communities Can Help the Mentally Ill

Alumnus Speaks Into National Conversation About Mental Health on Campus


Greenville University inspires students to enter the world as “helpers.” Your support can help fuel that education. Thank you for giving.

This story was published on June 09, 2017

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