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Mary Link Briggs Distinguished Professor of Medicine Associate Director, Thurston Arthritis Research Center Director, Osteoarthritis Action Alliance

Areas of Interest

Physical activity and behavioral interventions, health disparities and social determinants of health, health literacy, arthritis mortality and outcomes research.


Dr. Callahan’s areas of expertise are in four major areas: 1) outcomes and epidemiological research; 2) establishing collaborations across the UNC campus and in communities across the State of North Carolina; 3) leadership roles in professional and nonprofit arthritis organization; and 4) setting arthritis public health agendas. Her research has focused on physical activity and arthritis, predictors of outcomes, quality of life and mortality in individuals with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), patient reported outcomes and measurement, social determinants and health outcomes, health literacy, and complementary and alternative medicine use in rheumatic diseases. Currently, she is the Associate Director of Thurston Arthritis Research Center, as well as Principal Investigator (PI) and Director of its NIAMS-funded UNC Core Center for Clinical Research. She is also the Director of the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA), a coalition of over 140 organizations focused on moving forward the Public Health Agenda for OA. Over the past 30 years, she has conducted seven large intervention trials of physical activity or behavioral lifestyle programs for participants with arthritis and joint pain. These trials have enrolled over 3400 participants in 41 counties in North Carolina.

Education and Training

  • Undergraduate University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • PhD Vanderbilt University