My research, work and teaching are at the intersections of religion and health, and I have research experience in the areas of gender and sexuality, health promotion, food and food insecurity, and gender-based violence. I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences where I direct and served as lead author for Faithful Families Thriving Communities, a practice-tested faith-based health promotion intervention out of NC State University and the North Carolina Division of Public Health. Read about this work and our publications here. I’m co-PI, with Sarah Bowen of FIRST: Food Insecurity Responses, Solutions, and Transformation during COVID-19, an NSF-funded RAPID grant that aims to understand how families’ food practices have shifted as a result of COVID-19 and identify the processes that buffer some families from food insecurity but not others. Along with Sarah Bowen and Sinikka Elliott, I serve as co-PI for Voices into Action: The Families, Food, and Health Project, a USDA and Russell Sage Foundation-funded study of the family food environment. Along with Voices into Action Project Director, Sarah Bowen, my work with these programs was recognized by an invitation to the Obama White House, for a Let’s Move meeting of faith-based and neighborhood partners. I also served as co-PI, with Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, for Health Matters, a two-year community-based health promotion grant funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I am author of When Religion Matters: Practicing Healing in the Aftermath of the Liberian Civil War (Wipf & Stock, 2016) and co-editor of Parenting as Spiritual Practice and Source for Theology: Mothering Matters (Palgrave). Learn more about my publications here.
I hold a PhD (2012) from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University, where I earned a certificate in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and was a student in the Religion and Public Health Collaborative. I hold an MTS from Vanderbilt Divinity School (2005), where I was a Carpenter Scholar and a certificate student in the Carpenter Program for Religion, Gender and Sexuality. My undergraduate degree is in Women’s Studies and Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In addition to posts for Voices into Action, Faithful Families, and this website, I have written for the New York Times, Religion Dispatches and the Immanent Frame. I also served as co-Issue Editor, with Jessica Smith, for the Religion, Health and Healing Issue of Practical Matters: A Transdisciplinary Multimedia Journal of Religious Practices and Practical Theology.