Carolinas Conversations Collection
Carolinas Conversations Collection

Who We Are






Federal Organizations


National Library of Medicine (NLM) a part of the National Institutes of Health (US Department of Health and Human Services) responsible for promoting translation of biomedical research into practice.   An NLM grant for research in health information science provided initial support for the Carolinas Conversations (CC) Collection, a Web-based collection of interviews with North and South Carolinians over 65 about health and wellness, illness, and health services.




In 2008, faculty at two universities collaborated to start the CC Collection:


Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)a public institution of higher learning providing an interprofessional environment for education of health care professionals and biomedical scientists, research in the health sciences, and provision of comprehensive health care.  A partnership between the MUSC College of Nursing and the MUSC Library ensured sustainable support for the CC Collection at MUSC.


University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) – an urban and regional center of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts education, professional programs, and related research. UNCC contributed a co-principal investigator, extensive research data, and additional faculty and staff expertise to developing the CC Collection.  





Charlene Pope, Ph.D., MPH, Co-Principal Investigator


  • Associate Professor, College of Nursing and College of Health Professions (MUSC)
  • Associate Nurse Executive for Research, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston SC
  • Adjunct Professor, School of Nursing, Medical College of Georgia


Dr. Pope’s research and publications focus in three areas: healthcare provider-patient communication, racial/ethnic and linguistic variations and disparities in health services, and preventive medicine in chronic disease. She brings a diverse set of skills to the project, with advanced degrees in nursing and public health, a PhD concentrating in sociolinguistics from University of Rochester’s School of Education and Human Development, and additional training in epidemiology. Dr. Pope has provided health services consultancies in Africa and Southeast Asia. Currently she serves as Core Faculty in the VA Center for Disease Prevention and Health Interventions for Diverse Populations in Charleston, SC. In 2009, she also directed two on-going studies at the Charleston VA: “Racial Variations in Communication, Decision Making, and Diabetes” and “Communication in Heart Failure Telehealth Services.” Dr. Pope receives grant funds from the Veterans’ Administration, National Institutes of Health, and the National Libraries of Medicine, and she collaborates with Dr. Boyd Davis on studies of patient-provider communication.  



Boyd Davis, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator



·      Bonnie E. Cone Distinguished Professor of Teaching (UNCC)

·      Professor of English/Linguistics and Gerontology (UNCC)

·      Adjunct Research Professor, Nursing (MUSC)

·      Affiliate, Alzheimer Research Center/Clinical Program (MUSC)



Dr. Davis has spent the past 15 years focusing on digital corpora and on language and aging, with emphasis on Alzheimer’s discourse. A professor of English at UNC Charlotte since 1980, she joined the Gerontology program in 2000.  In 2005, she edited Alzheimer Talk, Text and Context, and she is the author of numerous other articles, books and chapters. From 2003 to 2005, Dr. Davis directed the implementation of a ten-year collection of interviews for the Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection, now part of , a digital Web-based database of 600-plus narratives and transcripts. Since 1989, she has regularly served as a visiting professor in Taiwan in Linguistics and Gerontology.  Her research interests include socio-historical linguistics, narrative and discourse analysis, corpus development and corpus analysis, and the study of question-answer interaction in constrained situations, particularly medical and forensic. Dr. Davis currently receives funds from the Veterans’ Administration, National Institutes of Health, the National Libraries of Medicine, and the National Alzheimer’s Association. She collaborates with Dr. Margaret Maclagan, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, on cross-national studies of the intersection of discourse and sociophonetic features in the language of older speakers and speakers with Alzheimer's disease.



Lillian Trettin, Ph.D., Collection Archivist


·      Assistant Professor, Department of Library Science and Informatics (MUSC)

·      Assistant Proessor, Department of Family Medicine (MUSC)


Dr. Lillian Trettin managed the CC Collection database.  During a 15-year career at MUSC, Dr. Trettin has published articles on health communication and contributed to preventive health outreach programs in South Carolina targeting disadvantaged populations. With a Ph.D. in American Culture (University of Michigan) and an MA in Museum Studies (State University of New York), Trettin brings ancillary strengths to the program.  She has published oral history research; taught American social history; consulted on social, cultural, and environmental impacts from federally funded development projects; and directed museum education programs.




Christine Dunfee, Research Assistant


·               Transcriptionist


Chris Dunfee transcribes, edits, and time aligns digital files for the CC Collection. She holds a BSBA in Healthcare Management from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Previously, Dunfee assisted Dr. Davis at UNC Charlotte in transcribing interviews for linguistic analysis.  She has held staff positions at health institutions in Gastonia and Charlotte, North Carolina, and as a surgery and burn technician in Charlottesville, Virginia. Ms. Dunfee has lived in Oklahoma, where she completed an internship in maternal child health at the University of Oklahoma, as well as in Virginia and North Carolina.   She resides in Denver, North Carolina.



Deadra Peterson, Study Coordinator


               Administrative Assistant and study coordinator


Deadra Peterson is responsible for all field activities related to the CC Collection:  arranging interviews with participants and interviewers, consenting participants, conducting interviews, and recording data using digital audio and video recording equipment. Ms. Peterson has completed certifications as a research study coordinator and as a nursing assistant. Prior to joining this project, she was the safety and training manager and the operational manager for the call center of a transportation company specializing in services for the elderly and disabled. She held this position at company headquarters in Florida and New Jersey, as well as in South Carolina.  She is a native and resident of Charleston, South Carolina.






Robert Fromont, BS, Consultant on Programming for Digital Language Analysis


  • Freelance Software Engineer/New Zealand Institute for Language, Brain and Behavior


Robert Fromont supervised the design of the CC Collection web portal and
participated in revisions and evaluations of the system. He is known for
developing the java-based linguistics research tool, ONZE (Origins of  New
Zealand English) Miner. ONZE Miner, a complex multi-use linguistics tool, is
used in various projects at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, Victoria University in Wellington, at ZAS in Berlin, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Hawaii,  and is the model on which the CC Collection is based. Mr. Fromont wrote the original software and adapted it, tailoring the code to MUSC’s exacting security specifications and users’ projected research needs. He graduated with a BA from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in Computer Science and Philosophy, an advanced certificate in business computing from Auckland Institute of Technology, and a BS from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, in Linguistics. His expertise includes systems analysis and design, Internet applications, and data-communications. After pursuing education and three years as a software engineer for a telephone software company, Fromont began freelance development of web programs and applications in 1999. He resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Margaret Maclagan, PhD, Consultant on Digital Corpora and Computerized Analysis


  • Associate Professor, Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand


Dr. Maclagan is an internationally recognized expert in the processes and strategies used to code spoken language developed by the ONZE Miner Project at the University of Canterbury. This project charts the origins, features and changes of New Zealand English (NZE) and applies the findings to theories of language and language change. The project's emphases on acoustic analysis, sociolinguistic variation and speech perception make it valuable to research in linguistics and related disciplines. Dr. Maclagan has taught courses in linguistics and communications disorders at the University of Canterbury. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from University College London and an M.A. from Macquarie University in Australia. Her teaching specialties have included language acquisition, language analysis, child study, articulatory and acoustic phonetics, physics of sound, discourse analysis, and computerised analysis of language. Her major research interests are the study of NZE (historical analysis and on-going changes) and the relevance of sound change for speech-language therapists. Her research is supported by grants from the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund and the University of Canterbury. She collaborates with Professor Davis on an international  study of the intersection of sociophonetics and discourse features in the language of aging speakers and those with Alzheimer's disease.



Kathleen McCormick,   Archival Consultant


  • Assistant University Librarian for Special Collections, Atkins Library University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Manager, New South Voices Oral History Database, Atkins Library UNCC


Ms. McCormick joined the Atkins Library as the Reference Archivist and Coordinator of the Oral History Program in July of 2005 and worked as the Interim AUL for Special Collections from July 2007 to October 2008. In her previous positions, she was responsible for leadership and direction of the Special Collections department along with creating and cultivating community partnerships with Charlotte area non-profits to support the Special Collections mission. For the CC Collection, Ms. McCormick provided guidance on developing metadata and essential archival materials, based on her experience managing the New South Voices (NSV) Oral History Database at the Atkins Library. This database, also a model for the CC Collection, provides digital access to over 800 audio recordings and transcripts of interviews, narratives and conversations collected by UNCC faculty and students and several community organizations. Previous to her work at UNC Charlotte, Ms. McCormick was a Library Assistant at the Irish Music Center at Boston College and an Adjunct Professor of English Composition and Literature at Quincy College and Mount Ida College. She received her Masters in Library Science from Simmons College and a MA in English from Boston College.





Without adequate (in some instances, visionary) technical assistance, the Carolinas Conversations Collection would not exist.  Experts in information technology who have assisted with its development are located in the MUSC Library, under the direction of Dr. Tom Basler, and in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), the university's central IT department.  MUSC Library staff from the Systems Department and from the Center for Academic and Research Computing have assisted and instructed project team members;  OCIO staff manage the project server and assist users of the Collection. Key participants include:



Thomas Basler, Ph.D., Library Director

  • Professor and Chair of the MUSC Department of Library Science and Informatics
  • Fellow, Medical Library Association
  • Honorary Member, Southern Chapter, Medical Library Association
  • Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP).


Dr. Basler (M.L.S., Florida State University and Ph.D., University of Santa Barbara in California) has served as Director of the Libraries at MUSC since 1991. Other positions he has held include Director of Libraries at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA;  Librarian, New York Academy of Medicine, New York City; Director of the Regional Medical Library Program of New York and Northern New Jersey; Librarian at The American Museum of Natural History, New York City; and Librarian at the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, FL. Basler’s interests include electronic delivery of information to urban and rural communities, particularly to disadvantaged segments of their populations, and to health care professionals and workers. His continued administrative support, and his advice on grants writing and program sustainability have been invaluable to this project.


Mary Mauldin, Ed.D., Director, Center for Academic and Research Computing

  • Associate Professor. MUSC Department of Library Sciences and Informatics
  • Director, MUSC Student Learning Commons


With an MEd in Instructional Technology and an EdD in Educational Technology, Mary Mauldin has over 30 years of experience in integrating technology into teaching and research. Dr. Mauldin directs the MUSC Center for Academic and Research Computing, and is currently leading the MUSC Library's development of an innovative Student Learning Commons. Under her direction, the Center provides web development and video and digital media production services to all university departments. Its staff works with faculty on large collaborative projects resulting in the creation of courseware, as well as one-on-one consulting to meet specific technology needs. The Center has produced over 180 interactive instructional programs, many receiving national and international recognition. Assistance from Dr. Mauldin and members of her staff has been essential to the proper digital recording and processing of interviews and to developing the CCC web portal.



Paul Arrington, Senior Analyst, OCIO-Information Services

Senior analyst Paul Arrington administers unix systems. A master problem solver, he is currently responsible for managing the MUSC server that contains the Carolinas Conversations Collection, and he provides user support and IT expertise to faculty and students accessing the collection.



Carolinas Conversations Collection