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Goode receives UNC’s Junior Faculty Development Award

Rachel W. Goode, an assistant professor at UNC School of Social Work, has been chosen to receive a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Junior Faculty Development Award for 2020.

The prestigious award will help fund Goode’s research into obesity affecting persons who do not have consistent access to adequate and appropriate food to maintain good health and energy.

“Why is it that you can be food insecure and still struggle with obesity?” asks Goode. “How can we help people in this situation have better control over their health and their eating?”

Goode’s research will examine how recipients of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, designed to supplement the food budget of needy families, can be affected both by food insecurity and by binge eating. She plans to work with Triangle-area social workers who interact with SNAP recipients and to identify the vulnerabilities that these recipients have — a first step in developing interventions that can help prevent obesity.

“They receive benefits one time a month,” Goode explains. “This sets up a pattern to increase the likelihood of binge eating, overeating and undereating.

“I want to understand how we can better support individuals with food insecurity in managing their eating behaviors and their weight.”

Working to prevent and treat binge eating and obesity has become a hallmark of Goode’s career. Since joining the UNC School of Social Work faculty in 2017, she has been principal investigator of a pilot feasibility grant from the Nutrition and Obesity Research Center at UNC-Chapel Hill to reduce binge eating and prevent weight gain in African-American women. She leads the Living F.R.E.E. Lab, a research group that focuses on developing and evaluating interventions to treat and prevent disordered eating behaviors and obesity among women of color.

Goode earned her Master of Social Work, Master of Public Health and Ph.D. degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. The Society of Behavioral Medicine awarded her its Outstanding Dissertation Award in 2018.

The Junior Faculty Development Award is sponsored by the UNC Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. IBM and RJ Reynolds Industries funds support the $10,000 award.