Skip to main content

Navy blue background has diamonds and starbursts. A spotlight icon shines on a circular image of Caroline Hays. A label reads "In the spotlight." Below the label is the text "Caroline Hays."

by Abby Arcuri

Getting to know fellow CHER members is important. Caroline Hays, a new employee, brings her skills and values to the team.

Hays previously worked as a nurse, but other interests she had are what brought her to CHER. Plus, she’s a great gluten-free baker.

Read about Hays’ path to CHER and her role.

Tell us about your role at CHER. What’s your position and focus?

I have just joined CHER as an Evaluation Research Specialist with the Abacus Evaluation Team. So far, my main focus is on a public health infrastructure grant project.

Tell us about your background. What brought you to CHER?

Before joining CHER, I worked as a nurse in a variety of clinical settings, including labor and delivery and community health.

Working with patients and communities clinically sparked my interest in understanding the broader health systems and disparities in access to care and health outcomes that exist in the US. This led me to complete a Master of Public Health in Maternal, Child and Family Health and transition from a bedside nursing career into a public health research and evaluation role with CHER.

What do you like best about working at CHER?

I’ve only worked at CHER for a month, but so far I have really enjoyed working with other passionate public health professionals and getting to know their interests and unique areas of expertise as we work together.

What’s the most important thing for people to understand about what you do?

I think it is important for people to understand my motivations for the work that I do.

While my day-to-day may be filled with fairly technical tasks, my overarching goal is that the technical work that I do contributes meaningful information that can be used by other team members, whether here at UNC or in larger connected public health networks, to enhance understanding of the effectiveness of public health efforts and improve health equity.

What are some challenges you face?

A challenge that I face as a public health researcher is bridging the communication gap between academic research, clinical and public health systems and the communities partnering in and impacted by my work.

Having worked in clinical settings and now in research spaces, I have seen how technical communication can be a barrier to mutual understanding.

I look forward to continuing to find creative ways to communicate with a variety of communities in each of my projects.

What’s a fun fact about you?

A fun fact about me is that I am an avid gluten-free baker and am always trying out a new recipe on the weekends! I’ve been told that my gluten-free sourdough is indistinguishable from the “real” thing.