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WIU Faculty Member, Alumna Publish Co-Authored Research

September 22, 2022

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MACOMB, IL – A Western Illinois University Sociology and Anthropology faculty member and a 2020 M.A. in Sociology alumna have co-authored an academic article in the Journal of American College Health.

Professor of Sociology Lora Ebert Wallace and WIU alumna Ejura Yetunde Salihu published "Use and Attitudes Toward Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among University Students: The Role of Gender and Race" in JACH. Salihu is now a doctoral student in Health Services Research in Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The research that is the basis of the article is the result of work toward Salihu's WIU thesis.

"The Journal of American College Health is a respected journal in the field, so I could not be more pleased that our paper was accepted there," said Salihu. "I am grateful for the support of my thesis advisor, Dr. Lora Ebert Wallace. From the minute we conceptualized the research topic to publication, she has gone above and beyond to ensure my success."

Salihu said the published paper went through several revisions in a process that lasted more than a year.

"Dr. Wallace supported me through each revision stage, working weekends and late evenings," she said. "I hope to work with her again in the near future. I also want to thank members of my thesis committee, Dr. Patrick McGinty and Dr. Oswald Warner, for their valued feedback on my thesis, which this paper was based on."

Ebert Wallace said the research uses data collected from over 500 WIU students in Spring 2020 to examine how college students use complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), and how often they report the use of these to their mainstream healthcare providers.

"The study examines how race and gender influence the ways in which university students manage CAM and mainstream medicine," she said. "The data show that women use CAM more often than men, and white students more often than non-whites."

Salihu and Wallace found a racial gap in disclosure of CAM use to mainstream healthcare providers, with whites significantly more likely to do so compared to their African American peers. For all races, women were more likely to share their CAM usage with their health care providers. According to Ebert Wallace, these findings regarding disclosure of CAM use are important, as most American now use alternative medicines, and mainstream health care providers need to know about this usage in order to provide proper care.

"I'm very proud of Ejura's hard work," said Ebert Wallace. "She's been busy pursuing another degree since graduating from WIU, but she found time to continue to work with me on this project. She showed the same fortitude during her time here at WIU, especially when the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 necessitated a complete change in her data-collection design. She's a brilliant scholar."

For more information about the research, visit

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