Carmen Samuel-Hodge, PhD, RD has been selected as the recipient of the inaugural Gillings Faculty Award for Excellence in Health Equity Research. Samuel-Hodge is an associate professor of nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is also the director of evaluation at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) and a co-principal investigator on the Center’s core research project.
The Gillings Health Equity Faculty Research Award recognizes faculty who demonstrate excellence in research that has made a substantial impact on improved equitable outcomes or sustained reduction in inequities in a pressing public health issue.
The award announcement recognizes Samuel-Hodge because she “embodies the intent of the award with her work embedded in the Granville Vance Public Health District Health Department. Her research is unique and is an incredible model for community engagement to solve health inequities. In addition, her research on community-based diabetes self-management has had significant impact in improving outcomes and practice. She has also been a remarkable mentor who has fostered the growth of a network of doctoral and postdoctoral students of color. Samuel-Hodge has been exemplary in her work to address structural issues of health equity.”
Samuel-Hodge began working with the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in 1993 as a doctoral student, and she has been a professor of nutrition at UNC Gillings since 2003.
Since 2015, she has also been embedded with Granville Vance Public Health one to two days per week in a rural academic health department model, a partnership between the health department and UNC-Chapel Hill. Working with health department staff, she leads their chronic disease prevention strategies, including their Minority Diabetes Prevention Program, and serves as a special advisor on evidence-based program implementation.
Kauline Cipriani, PhD, associate dean for inclusive excellence and associate professor in the Public Health Leadership Program, noted, “Dr. Carmen Samuel-Hodge is a truly extraordinary person. Her diabetes prevention and management expertise is highly sought after. She has broadened access to mentorship with her Sistah-Docs organization, and her contributions at the Granville Vance Health District Health Department have been transformative. It is no surprise that our colleagues selected her to receive the inaugural Gillings Health Equity Research Award.”
“We are fortunate that Dr. Samuel-Hodge’s leadership and expertise contribute to the work of HPDP in a wide variety of ways – she is co-principal investigator of our core research project, directs the evaluation unit, and has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on a number of important studies, all focused on chronic disease prevention in diverse populations,” said Alice Ammerman, DrPH, the director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and the Mildred Kaufman Distinguished Professor of Nutrition. “She is widely recognized by students as an excellent mentor and by research colleagues as a rigorous but also community-responsive investigator.”
Samuel-Hodge accepted the award on October 21 during a University Research Week session on health equity research co-sponsored by the Gillings School, the Center for Health Equity Research and the Institute of African American Research. As part of the session, she gave a talk titled “Research Translation, Implementation, and Mentoring to Address the Health of Those at Highest Risk.”