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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC Assistant Professor Honored by APHA for Community-based Public Health Research

Dr. Alexandra Lightfoot, research assistant professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s department of health behavior, received the 2015 Tom Bruce Award at a November 3 meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA).

[Photo: Dr. Alexandra Lightfoot (center, with a white name tag) smiles with a group of partner youth, Gillings graduates and postdoctoral fellows, faculty and community partners at the APHA meeting.]

The Community-Based Public Health (CBPH) Caucus, a subgroup within APHA, manages the award. It was established in 2006 to celebrate the work and legacy of Dr. Thomas Allen Bruce, known as the “father of CBPH.” The award recognizes one individual per year who exemplifies leadership in the field.

Dr. Lightfoot also is director of the Community Engagement, Partnerships, Technical Assistance and Training Core at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. In this role, she provides technical assistance and consultation to build capacity in community-based participatory research (CBPR), leveraging community expertise to strengthen research partnerships.

Dr. Lightfoot’s own research focuses on the intersection of education inequities and health disparities, with a focus on adolescents. She serves as either principal investigator or co-investigator for a number of studies and research projects, including:

Dr. Lightfoot joined the Gillings School as a collaborator and adjunct in 2008 and was appointed as faculty member in 2015. She is known for being a passionate advocate of students.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Lightfoot was presented with a scroll lauding her “humble spirit and skills in creating a space for the community’s voice,” which was signed by many of her supporters.

“I was very honored to join the illustrious crew of previous awardees, which includes many Gillings School affiliates and graduates,” Dr. Lightfoot said. “It was also wonderful to be surrounded by academic and community partners and a group of youth with whom we work. They presented at APHA and also conducted a stellar Youth Workshop organized by the CBPH Caucus.”

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