Greer Sullivan is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine and the founding Director of the Center for Healthy Communities, where she is developing the medical school’s health services research program. Her research focuses on vulnerable populations with serious mental illness, such as those who are homeless or incarcerated. Before joining the panel at a Zócalo/The California Wellness Foundation event, “Will the Inland Empire’s Sprawl Create the Community of the Future?” Sullivan talked about how she always thought she would be an artist.
Where did you go for your last vacation?
Well, I dunno if it was a vacation or not but I just got back from D.C. because I was sitting on a grant committee. But I went there early because I was throwing a party for the daughter of my friend who is getting married. Before that I went to Mexico City, to Coyoacán. It’s in the big sprawl of Mexico City—it’s where Frida Kahlo’s house is.
What’s your favorite thing about Riverside?
I think that I just really like all the diversity here. I came from Arkansas where there’s not a huge amount of diversity.
Do you consider yourself right-brained or left-brained?
It all depends. When I do my research with numbers I’m very left-brain. But then actually, I write poetry so that’s very right-brain. I like to think I can bring both of those together. Particularly in the research I do.
What’s your drink of choice?
I probably drink water more than anything. But I do like Pimm’s Cup, especially around here because it’s so hot. I went to school in England for part of my college, so that’s where I was introduced to Pimm’s, and every time I go back in the summertime we get pitchers of Pimm and fruit.
Is there one food that you hate?
Uh, I really hate licorice. I really do not care for the taste or smell. And I really hate oysters, I can’t bring myself to eat one.
How long does it take you to unpack after a trip?
I do travel a lot for my job and the truth of the matter is I don’t completely unpack for one until I start packing for the next one. I say no less than three days … or a couple weeks.
What’s your hidden talent?
Well, I don’t know how hidden it is but I always thought I would be an artist. When I was in high school and college I did a lot of art, and won awards for art … I love art. And I also love gardening, and I do have some talents with that.
Do you have a favorite book?
There are a lot of books I really like. The Good Earth by Pearl Buck is an amazing book. I love memoirs, autobiographies, and poetry. I love Alice Monroe. Her short stories are like little packages.