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


When we hire someone new, we’re always hoping we made a good pick. So, we’re excited to have hooked Kristen Witkemper onto our team!

In addition to starting with us, she has (guitar) picks and (crochet) hooks, too. They’re part of how she spends her down time.

She’s not just new to CHER, either. She loves to learn new things. While she’s picking up new hobbies, we’re sure we’ll be picking up a lot from her, too!

Get to know Kristen in this Q&A.

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

I am a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator for the Collaborate and Leverage Evidence in African American Rural Network (Co-LEARN) project, which seeks to mitigate the inequitable burden of cardiovascular disease in Eastern North Carolina through the community-guided implementation of a lifestyle modification education program.

I am additionally supporting Abacus Evaluation, where I’ll help to tell the story of Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP)’s impact.

What was your path to CHER?

I am a double Tar Heel and completed both my B.S. in Psychology and MPH in Health Behavior here at Carolina.

Along the way, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to research focused on supporting the mental health of LGBTQIA+ teenagers, an evaluation of a CTSA-funded pilot grant program and an assessment of the assets and needs of North Carolina-based organizations that serve victims of crime.

Most recently, I served as the Lead Research Coordinator for the Better Tomorrow Network, which is a research network dedicated to improving the health outcomes of survivors of sexual assault.

A central thread tying these experiences together is my passion for using research to amplify the voices of those most impacted by existing systems.

What are your goals while at CHER?

My primary goal is to learn!

I feel fortunate to be surrounded by brilliant and compassionate colleagues who are deeply experienced in community-based research; by learning from their example, I hope to be all the more equipped to meaningfully support our collaborators.

What are some challenges you’ve faced in your field of work?

One aspect of my role that I’m particularly excited by is the opportunity to work across multiple teams and projects.

This comes with the challenge of ensuring that I allocate my time wisely in order to ensure that all projects receive the attention they deserve.

I anticipate that careful planning and communication will be central to navigating this interesting challenge!

What’s a fun fact about you?

I dabble in several creative hobbies, including crochet, guitar and (most recently) watercolor painting!