The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity Welcomes New Faculty Affiliate

Friday, September 30, 2016
The Cook Center

Dr. Keisha L. Bentley-Edwards, Director of Health Equity Working Group for the Cook Center and Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine at Duke University. 

DURHAM, N.C., Sept. 13, 2016 — The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity is honored to welcome new faculty affiliate Dr. Keisha L. Bentley Edwards.

Dr. Bentley-Edwards will serve as Director of the Health Equity Working Group for the Cook Center and is newly appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Duke University School of Medicine (General Internal Medicine). Her appointment marks the beginning of a formal and substantive collaboration between the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and the Duke Center for Community and Population Health Improvement (CCPHI) within the School of Medicine. 

A central component of the Cook Center’s mission is to examine the health impact and policy implications of health inequity and the relationship between exposure to racism and discrimination and health outcomes among members of stigmatized populations. Dr. Keisha Bentley-Edwards is an expert on identity and adolescent psychological health, race-conscious research and interventions, and the interaction between race and child development. She joins the Cook Center from the University of Texas at Austin where she served as an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology.

“We are pleased to have a scholar of Dr. Bentley-Edwards’ creativity, dedication, and productivity join us as the first faculty member hired jointly by the Cook Center and the School of Medicine,” said Dr. William A. (“Sandy”) Darity, Jr., Founding Director, Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics at Duke University. “She will provide exceptional leadership to the Cook Center’s and CCPHI’s efforts to understand and reduce health inequities,” Darity added. 

Dr. Bentley-Edwards’ research focuses on how race and racism stress influence social, physical and emotional health as well as academic outcomes throughout the lifespan, with an emphasis on adolescence. Her work has particularly focused upon the development of culturally relevant measurement to address the constructs of racial/ethnic socialization, racial cohesion and dissonance and same-race violence. Dr. Bentley-Edwards is a former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Scholar that was based on the bullying experiences of African American children. Her research has appeared in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, Journal of Black Psychology, Journal of Multicultural Counseling, and Journal of College Student Development, among others, as well as been quoted in national news outlets such as USA Today, TIME Magazine, and National Public Radio (NPR). Overall, Dr. Bentley-Edwards uses research to guide parents and practitioners to support the healthy functioning of black children and families. 

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to be among an interdisciplinary group of scholars that are dedicated to eliminating group-based inequities through teaching, research, policy and prevention initiatives,” Bentley-Edwards said.

As Director of the Health Equity Working Group and faculty affiliate of the Cook Center, Dr. Bentley-Edwards will provide critical guidance for the Center in its efforts to develop research collaborations for proposals for extramural funding and design new curricular offerings across the university setting. 

“Dr. Bentley-Edwards will provide critically needed expertise to address the social and life course determinants of health among disparity populations,” said Dr. Ebony Boulware, Director of the Center for Community and Population Health Improvement and Associate Vice Chancellor for Translational Research. “Her arrival also represents an exciting opportunity to bridge the Samuel DuBois Cook Center with the School of Medicine through the Center for Population Health Improvement. We anticipate many exciting initiatives to come,” Boulware remarked.

Ultimately, with a joint appointment with the Cook Center on Social Equity and Duke University School of Medicine, Dr. Bentley-Edwards will help forge a new generation of interdisciplinary scholars working in health, medical, and social sciences at Duke.