Seth A. Berkowitz, M.D., MPH
Jada L. Brooks, Ph.D., MSPH, R.N.
Dr. Brooks is affiliated with UNC School of Nursing and her multidisciplinary program of community-based health research focuses on reducing health disparities and improving the health of American Indian children, with a particular focus on understanding the psychosocial factors related to family management of childhood asthma. Other areas of interest include epigenetics and health services research.
Dr. Brooks’ research program advances knowledge of inflammation as a potential biological pathway linking environmental pollutant exposure and psychosocial factors to cardiovascular disease in American Indian women. Her research program is designed to inform low-cost and culturally based psychosocial interventions that seek to reduce American Indian women’s susceptibility to environmental pollutants. The goal of this work is to promote environmental health equity among American Indian women.
Lori Carter-Edwards, Ph.D., MPH
Research Associate Professor
Lori Carter-Edwards, PhD, research associate professor is a public health professional and researcher with expertise in epidemiology, behavioral sciences, and education. Dr. Carter Edwards is the Training and Outreach Lead for Community and Academic Resources for Engaged Scholarship (CARES).
Dr. Carter-Edwards’ research focuses on the prevention of chronic disease in vulnerable populations. She investigates the role of psychosocial correlates on cardiovascular-related outcomes, such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Her work primarily evaluates how perceptions and attitudes influence these outcomes. Currently, her emphasis is on faith-based organizational capacity to promote health and obesity-related perceptions and attitudes among children and adults. She also serves on the Leadership Team of the Eat Smart Move More N.C. collaborative and has chaired the Key Measures Team for Eat Smart Move More N.C.
Crystal Wiley Cené, M.D., MPH
Crystal Wiley Cené, MD, MPH, is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a physician-researcher, Dr. Cené spends 75% of her time conducting health services research and 25% in direct patient care. Her research involves the use of qualitative and quantitative methods, including social network analysis. She has several lines of research: 1) the influence of social and behavioral factors on health outcomes for individuals with and at risk for cardiovascular disease; 2) patient and family engagement in chronic illness care and developing and implementing interventions in outpatient clinics to improve cardiovascular health outcomes and reduce cardiovascular disparities; 3) examining the influence of social networks and network-based resources (e.g., social support, social capital) on health behaviors and outcomes for patients with or at risk for cardiovascular disease. She is especially interested in the impact of family member involvement in direct clinical care (e.g. through accompaniment to medical visits and direct interactions with health care providers) on the quality of patient-provider communication and subsequent health outcomes; and 4) integration of social determinants of health screening into healthcare delivery setting. In addition to her research, Dr. Cené is involved in health equity initiatives at the national level.
Peggye Dilworth-Anderson, Ph.D.
Professor, Health Policy & Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Peggye Dilworth-Anderson, PhD, is professor of Health Policy & Management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. Her research focus is on health disparities and Alzheimer’s disease with an emphasis on building knowledge for the scientific and lay community to inform conducting culturally relevant research and disseminating information about Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders in medically under-served diverse populations.
Dr. Dilworth-Anderson has and does serve in numerous leadership roles, some of which include: President of Gerontological Society of America. Member: Global Council on Brain Health, Committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; National Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Council; Board of Directors of the National Alzheimer’s Association and Eastern North Carolina Chapter; National Research Advisory Council of the Institute on Aging/NIH.
She is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and National Council on Family Relations.
Leah Frerichs, Ph.D.
Leah Frerichs, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Frerichs’ research is focused on the intersection of community-based participatory research and systems science to address health disparities, largely in the area of chronic disease prevention. She has experience working with diverse communities including American Indian, Latino and African Americans to develop, implement and evaluate community-based interventions and policies. Her work has had a major focus on understanding and developing interventions that target social and physical environment influences on youth’s health behaviors in under-served communities.
Frerichs earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Center for Health Equity Research at UNC. Prior to her doctoral studies, she managed a cancer prevention and control program for tribal communities in the Northern Plains.
Cheryl L. Woods Giscombé, Ph.D., R.N., PMHNP-BC, FAAN
Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness
Cheryl L. Woods Giscombe, PhD, RN, PMHNP is the Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar. She received a BA in psychology from North Carolina Central University, a BS in nursing and a PhD in social-health psychology from Stony Brook University, and a MSN from the psychiatric nurse practitioner program at UNC Chapel Hill. She has affiliations with Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research and Education Faculty, UNC at Chapel Hill Program on Integrative Medicine, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and CAARE, Inc. (Durham, NC).
Her research focuses on stress-related health behaviors, psychoneuroendocrine biomarkers, and sociocultural contextual factors that contribute to health disparities in African Americans. She developed the Superwoman Schema Conceptual Framework, which explicates how perceived obligations to present an image of strength and provide support for family members, friends, and the community may contribute to emotional suppression, neglected self-care, stress exacerbation and stress-related morbidity in African American women.
Recently she has led an NIH-funded research project examining the influence of mindfulness meditation on stress and health in African American adults with pre-diabetes. She aims to develop and implement culturally relevant stress management interventions that can be widely adopted in community and healthcare settings. In addition to her research, Dr. Giscombe established a mental health program at the nurse managed health center where she currently practices. Dr. Giscombe was honored with the “Leader in the Field/Early Career Award” from the American Psychological Association and the “Brilliant New Investigator Award” from the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science. She is particularly grateful for her immediate family (husband, Kessonga and two daughters, Zuri and Zola) her extended family, friends, and mentors who support and inspire her both professionally and personally.
Kristen Lich Hassmiller, Ph.D., MHSA
Research Assistant Professor
Dr. Lich specializes in the application of systems thinking, operations research, and systems science simulation modeling techniques for health policy, public health delivery, and medical decision making. Dr. Lich has been invited to talk about the use of systems science methods to inform policy and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-informed practice in a variety of settings, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Health Administration, and numerous meetings and workshops. She teaches on these topics at UNC and co-led the System Dynamics track at the NIH-sponsored Institute for Systems Science and Health during the summer of 2012.
Dr. Lich has worked most extensively in tobacco control and health system planning, but recent projects involve developing both qualitative and quantitative models to support informed decision-making about how to allocate limited resources to translate evidence into real-world practice around stroke care, severe mental illness, care for children and youth with special health care needs, and colon cancer in collaboration with federal, state and community partners across the United States. Her research passion is to advance the way we use models (both quantitative and qualitative) and local data to improve decision making by engaging system stakeholders in the process.
Feng-Chang Lin, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Feng-Chang Lin, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As evidenced by more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, he is fully devoted in both statistical methodology and application that will benefit not only statistical science but also clinical practice. Working as a biostatistician in the Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he is heavily engaged in collaborative research in biomedical fields, ranging from Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Dental. Successful research under his work addresses experimental design, data collection, and other quantitative aspects of biomedical research, of which results directly contributed to various domains of biology and biomedicine, including hypertension, dementia, blood disorder, social medicine and complementary medicine through the use of clinical and epidemiological data.
Dr. Lin has been working with Dr. Corbie-Smith and other investigators in CHER since 2009 when they studied the association between social isolation, vital exhaustion, and incidence of heart failure, a finding from well-known Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Since then they have been collaborating on multiple projects that leads to at least five manuscripts and seminar abstracts. He is also serving as a biostatistician in Dr. Corbie-Smith’s K24 mentoring grant from NHLBI and will provide statistical guidance to the trainees in the grant.
Krista M. Perreira, Ph.D.
Professor of Social Medicine
Dr. Krista Perreira has over 20 years of research experience focused on understanding and improving the health of immigrant and Hispanic/Latino populations. Her research has used both qualitative interview, focus group, and survey-based data from studies that she has designed (Latino Adolescent Migration, Health, and Adaptation Project, LAMHA; Southern Immigrant Academic Adaptation, SIAA) or co-designed (Hispanic Community Health Study of Latino Youth, SOL-Youth). Over the past 20 years, she has also assisted several interventions with the adaptation of their interventions for use with Spanish-speaking populations. These include interventions related to mental health, nutrition, and parenting young children. Through her experience in primary data collection she has become an established expert on the recruitment and retention of Latino and immigrant population samples; and on mixed-methods research. Nationally recognized as an engaged scholar, she applies her knowledge to assist schools, local, state and federal government committees, and nonprofit associations in the US. She is a recipient of the Hettlman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly achievement by Young Faculty and the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award for her national and state service to promote the welfare of immigrants and their families. For more information about Dr. Perreira’s research and teaching please see http://perreira.web.unc.edu/ and https://www.cpc.unc.edu/people/fellows/krista-m-perreira/.
Stuart Rennie, Ph.D.
Stuart Rennie is an Associate Professor in Social Medicine, a core faculty at UNC Center for Bioethics and an associate faculty at UNC Center for Health Equity Research. His background is in philosophy and medical anthropology, and his doctoral dissertation concentrated on the impact luck and chance can have on attributions of moral responsibility. Dr. Rennie’s current teaching, research and service interests focus on research ethics, public health ethics, and medical ethics, particularly in the context of the developing world. He is currently co-Principal Investigator of two NIH/Fogarty International Center bioethics capacity building projects, in the Central Francophone Africa (‘Building Bioethics Capacity and Justice in Health’) and South Africa (‘Advancing Research Ethics in Southern Africa’ or ARESA). He is co-Principal Investigator of a NIH-funded research project on the social and ethical implications of HIV cure research (searcHIV) and leads the ethics program of UNC’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). With the support of the NIH and collaboration of the Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation (PIRE), Dr. Rennie is conducting research on the responsible conduct of HIV-related research among adolescents in western Kenya.
Daniel S. Reuland, M.D., MPH
Daniel S. Reuland, MD MPH, is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology. He attended medical school at Johns Hopkins University and did his internal medicine residency at Yale – New Haven Hospital. He practiced and taught internal medicine for 11 years (including 4 years with the US Indian Health Service) before deciding to focus on research and enter a post-doctoral fellowship at the UNC Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. He completed the fellowship and MPH degree at the UNC School of Public Health in 2008 after which he rejoined the UNC faculty as a health services researcher. His research interests include developing, testing, and implementing interventions aimed at improving clinical communication, decision making, and health behaviors within primary care practice and health systems. Much of his work aims to enhance our understanding of how to make cancer screening more appropriate and patient-centered.
Cross-cutting thematic interests include the adaptation of health communication interventions for Hispanic populations and shared medical decision making. His primary areas of inquiry are now in cancer prevention and control, though he collaborates on studies in other disease areas. He is currently PI of a multi-site, clinical trial funded by an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant testing a colorectal cancer screening intervention in safety net care settings in North Carolina and New Mexico. He recently led a multi-disciplinary effort to develop policies, processes, and tools needed for appropriate implementation of lung cancer screening within the UNC Health Care System, and he is PI on intramural (pilot) research grants to develop and test lung cancer screening decision support tools. Dr. Reuland was recently appointed Director of the Carolina Cancer Screening Initiative, supported by the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and University Cancer Research Fund, which focuses on improving the delivery of evidence-based cancer screening in North Carolina. He also serves as Director of Expanding Networks for Latinos through Community Engagement within the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute.
Dr. Reuland holds appointments in the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Care Center – Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, and the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute.
Raquel Reyes, M.D., MPA
Raquel Reyes, MD, MPA is an assistant professor of Medicine at UNC. Dr. Reyes received her MD at Harvard Medical School in 2008 and worked as Uganda Site Director at Massachusetts General Hospital Global Primary Care Residency Program from 2012 to 2014. Dr. Reyes’ specialty areas include Hospital Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Global Health, and Public Policy.
Dr. Reyes’ research and clinical interests are inspired by her particular commitment to women and children’s health in resource-poor settings at home and abroad. Dr. Reyes’ ambition is to use her formal training in public policy, public health, clinical medicine, and medical education to contribute to clinical care and sustainable health systems both locally and globally. She serves as a hospitalist and resident preceptor and is active with the Institute of Global Health & Infectious Disease and the Office of International Activities, contributing to the development of international experiences in the School of Medicine and Department of Medicine for trainees. Dr. Reyes also works within the Department of Social Medicine on health disparities research and policy projects.
Anissa I. Vines, Ph.D., M.S.
Anissa I. Vines, MS, PhD is a research faculty member in the department of epidemiology and co-lead of the Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights MPH degree concentration in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dr. Vines serves as the director of the Inclusive Science Program in the NC TraCS Institute. She is also an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology within the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Vines’s research focuses on the psychosocial determinants of women’s health disparities and cancer, from prevention to survivorship in African Americans. She prioritizes using both epidemiological and community-engaged research principles and methods to frame her work. She studies an array of stressors, including the racism, and psychosocial resources guided by life course theory and frameworks. Dr. Vines has developed the Telephone-administered Perceived Racism measure for use by phone in epidemiological studies. She is currently examining the stress of racism over the life course and other stressors on the risk of uterine fibroids in African American women.
Dr. Vines has a long track record of community engagement. Her cancer disparities research employs community-engaged principles and the use of peer support. Dr. Vines leads the Outreach Core of the NCCU/UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Disparities Partnership.
Currently, Dr. Vines currently serves as multiple principal investigator of the NC research team, one of 11 research teams in 11 states that are part of the NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities.
Michelle White, MD
Michelle White, MD, is originally from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She obtained a BA in History of Medicine and Science from Yale University and an MD from Duke University. She did her residency in general pediatrics at the University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital with subsequent fellowship training in Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Michigan. Dr. White is interested in health equity and policy related to pediatric cardiovascular diseases and obesity with a specific focus on the environment and rural areas. She is also interested in fostering research and educational partnerships in developing countries. She is a post-doctoral fellow at The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Pediatrics, an MPH candidate in Health Policy and Management and an associate faculty at UNC Center for Health Equity Research.