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Barbara Entwisle's current research examines migration processes in relation to the life course, household dyamics, and community contexts in a variety of contexts. She is also leveraging linkages between electronic health records and data from the Census Bureau to study population health.

Barbara Entwisle is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Fellow of the Carolina Population Center (CPC). She also holds adjunct and affiliate faculty positions in Geography and the Environment, Energy, and Ecology Program. Her research contributions have been recognized by her election as President of the Sociological Research Association (2015), President of the Population Association of America (2007), and Fellow of the AAAS (2003).  Between August 2010 and June 2016, she served as Vice Chancellor for Research at UNC-Chapel Hill, leading a campus-wide research program with nearly $1billion in annual research expenditures; overseeing 10 research development, support, and compliance offices, and responsible for 15 pan-university research centers and institutes, including the CPC. Prior to her service as Vice Chancellor, from 2002 to 2010, Dr. Entwisle was CPC's Director and Training Director. 

Since returning to the full-time faculty in 2016. Dr, Entwisle has published innovative research on climate change and migration (American Journal of Sociology), migration in the context of energy poverty challenges in Southern Africa (Population and Environment), life course events and statuses and consequences for mobility and immobility (Social Forces), and social determinants of health (American Journal of Preventive Medicine). She has also launched groundbreaking research linking electronic health records and census micro data, with two papers published or forthcoming so far (American Journal of Public Health, Demography) and a third which won a poster award at this year’s PAA meetings).

Dr. Entwisle is an engaged mentor with a track record of successfully preparing predocs and postdocs for research careers. To date, she has supervised 17 PhD students to completion and served as advisor for 9 postdoctoral scholars. Her former advisees have gone on to tenure-track appointments at major R1 universities (e.g., Washington-Seattle, Brown, Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland, Arizona). Four direct (or have recently directed) as Population Centers. Dr. Entwisle has received an NIH MENTOR award, a UNC Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award, a UNC Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction, and seven awards for teaching and mentoring from the graduate students in her home department of sociology, most recently in 2024.

In addition to her research, teaching, and mentoring activities, Dr. Entwisle has led advisory and review panels for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), NSF, and NIH and engaged in policy discussions of the future of social and behavioral research in those venues. She currently chairs the Census Scientific Advisory Committee.


Associated Research Themes