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Meet the Carolina Population Center Faculty Fellows elected in 2021

August 2, 2021

The Carolina Population Center’s Faculty Fellows elected seven UNC faculty members to join the CPC Fellows program in 2021. There are now 78 faculty fellows who sit across 16 academic departments.

Fenaba Addo, Public Policy

Fenaba R. Addo is an associate professor of public policy. Her recent work examines debt and wealth inequality with a focus on family and relationships and higher education, and union formation and economic strain as a social determinant of health and well-being. She has also focused on the role that consumer and family policies serve in reinforcing these relationships. Widely published in academic journals and policy outlets, her work on racial disparities in student debt, older Black women and wealth, and the Millennial racial wealth gap reflects her interests in bridging social demography with economic inequality, and sheds light on the ways that societal inequalities stem from historical legacies of racial exclusion and discrimination, and how they get reproduced over time.

John Batsis, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Nutrition

Dr. Batsis is a geriatrician and health services researcher that recently joined the faculty at UNC Chapel Hill in September 2020. He has a primary appointment in the Division of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, with a joint appointment in the Department of Nutrition in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Previously, he was on faculty at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth since 2008. He has considerable experience in large datasets analyses where he has evaluated important relationships between the changes observed in fat and muscle with aging (obesity and sarcopenia) on important outcomes relevant to older adults, including mortality and physical function. His specific interests are in the synergistic impact of obesity and low muscle mass and strength, sarcopenic obesity, and has published extensively in this field. Dr. Batsis recently is a participating member on an International Consensus Definition workgroup for this syndrome.

Ross Boyce, Division of Infectious Diseases

While the majority of my research takes place in western Uganda, I find great satisfaction helping North Carolinians struggling to find an answer to unexplained, yet often debilitating symptoms. My starting point is always “something is wrong” and by the end of the visit, I aim to provide a constructive, evidence-based path forward. Visits do not always result in the diagnosis of an infectious disease, but I try my best to move us closer to a diagnosis, often with the help of my talented colleagues in fields such as Dermatology, Rheumatology, and Neurology.

Cassandra Davis, Public Policy

Cassandra R. Davis, Ph.D., is a research professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the environmental disruptions to schooling, specifically the impact of natural disasters on low-income, communities of color. Dr. Davis’ goal is to support educators, community leaders, and policymakers to improve responses, preparedness, and recovery in areas with the highest need. Her most recent project focus on the impact of COVID-19 on schooling communities and First-generation college students. From 2017-2020, Dr. Davis received funding from the National Science Foundation to explore the impacts of Hurricanes Florence (2018), Harvey (2017), and Matthew (2016), on schools, educators, and students. Dr. Davis has also collaborated with school districts to assist them with understanding and applying best practice strategies on topics related to recovering from natural hazards, improving graduation rates of underrepresented groups, supporting students with learning differences, identifying opportunity and achievement gaps amongst students, assessing the quality of professional development training for school personnel, and investigating ways to improving school-parent engagement.

Shannon Malone Gonzalez, Sociology

Shannon Malone Gonzalez is an assistant professor of sociology. Her work draws from black feminism and critical criminology to investigate policing from the perspectives and experiences of black women and girls in the United States.

Dr. Malone Gonzalez is particularly interested in understanding how inequality shapes and marginalizes black women and girls’ experiences of police surveillance and violence across institutional and social contexts. Her current research uses mixed methods to explore the relationship between social class and police contact, including criminal institutional and health outcomes. Dr. Malone Gonzalez’s research has been published in Social Problems and Gender & Society, received awards from the American Sociological Association and Association of Black Sociologists, and has been supported by the National Science Foundation and Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin.

Justin Lessler, Epidemiology

Justin Lessler is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology researching the dynamics and control of infectious disease, with particular interest in SARS-CoV-2, influenza, cholera and dengue. Justin works on the development and application of statistics, dynamic models and novel study designs to better understand and control infectious disease. In particular, he is interested in creating synergies between infection control practice, data collection and infectious disease dynamics.

Margaret Sheridan, Clinical Psychology

Dr. Sheridan studies the neural mechanisms through which adversity affects brain development and risk for externalizing disorders; diagnosis and treatment of attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder in early childhood; and typical and atypical development of the prefrontal cortex. Visit her online: Child Imaging Research on Cognition and Life Experiences.