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Sierra Carter

Assistant Professor    
Education

Ph,D,, University of Georgia, 2016
M.S., University of Georgia, 2013
B.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010

Specializations

Racial health disparities, life course impact of psychosocial and contextual stressors on mental and physical health outcomes, culturally-informed prevention and intervention efforts for marginalized populations who have experienced racism and trauma

Biography

My primary area of research focuses on racial health disparities and investigating how psychosocial and contextual stressors can affect both mental and physical health outcomes for underrepresented populations, with an emphasis on African American populations. I have a long-standing interest in the ways that health disparities in African American populations arise and are maintained by psychological, physiological, and contextual/social processes. A common theme throughout much of my work has been examining how racial discrimination, as an acute and chronic stressor, effects development and exacerbation of chronic illnesses and stress-related disorders across the life course. I integrate clinical, physiological, and biobehavioral measurement in my research to aid in improved identification of mechanisms that can be targeted in prevention and treatment efforts to reduce racial health disparities.

My research program also examines how racial and cultural characteristics (e.g., racial identity, Africentric worldview, racial composition of communities, and place-based factors) influences health. This work utilizes a risk and resilience framework to further illuminate what may buffer the psychological and physical health impacts of racial discrimination. My research in the area of risk and resilience aims to enhance our ability to tackle troubling health disparities in underserved and underrepresented communities.

Lastly, my current work seeks to advance our knowledge of race-related stress and its influence on trauma symptomatology. My recent work in this area has examined the influence of trauma exposure alongside psychosocial stressors on mental and physical health outcomes. My future research in this area aims to further elucidate the ways in which multiple and interwoven chronic stressors, such as racism and trauma experiences, could influence health.