Lori Carter-Edwards has joined the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention as the new Deputy Director for Research and Operations.Carter-Edwards’ career as an academic researcher has spanned more than 15 years. Most recently, she was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine and faculty liaison in the Center for Community Research at Duke University Medical Center. She holds a PhD in epidemiology from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She said she was happy to be coming back to UNC, and especially HPDP, at this stage of her career.
“UNC was a fantastic experience for me,” Carter-Edwards said. “We do a lot of work here (at HPDP) in the community and I’m extremely dedicated to doing participatory research, which is a passion of mine.”
Carter-Edwards’ research focuses on prevention of chronic disease in vulnerable populations. She investigates the role of psychosocial correlates on such cardiovascular-related outcomes as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Her work primarily evaluates how perceptions and attitudes may 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.
Her current projects include a qualitative research pilot project, sponsored by the African American Collaborative Research Network (AACORN) through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, designed to understand food marketing to black communities. Her research, which is one of five sites across the U.S., investigates the context in which parents and children make choices about food to address the issue of childhood obesity in the black community. At the state level, she is also partnering with the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities to assess the health promotion capacities of African American churches.
Carter-Edwards has authored nearly 30 scientific articles. She also serves on the Leadership Team of the Eat Smart Move More NC collaborative and chaired the Key Measures Team for Eat Smart Move More NC.
Carter-Edwards’ new position allows her to continue her research and combine it with overseeing
all operational support activities at the Center. She supervises the informational support services, data capture and communication cores and works closely with the directors of qualitative research, community-based participatory research and evaluation to provide top-quality resources to all investigators working with the Center. She will work as part of a leadership team with HPDP Director Alice Ammerman and Deputy Director for Research Development and Administration Amanda Briggs.
“It’s an honor to be accepted to this position,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for all of us to be able to work together.”
Carter-Edwards said Wanda Hunter, her predecessor at HPDP, had done an excellent job of establishing systems and infrastructure at the Center. As the new Deputy Director, Carter-Edwards said she hoped to be a resource for employees and those working with the Center to conduct research.
“I think what I bring to the table is that I’m very open and people can come in my office anytime,” she said. “I’m very much willing to listen and work with the team in addressing the issues and for me, our common goal is what’s more important than anything else.”
The UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention is a Prevention Research Center funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.