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Joy Noel Baumgartner joins SSW faculty

Joy Noel Baumgartner, Ph.D., will join the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work faculty in January 2021.

Baumgartner will be a tenure-track associate professor and will hold an administrative appointment as director of global mental health initiatives for the School.

She has also been named a Wallace Kuralt Early Career Distinguished Scholar in recognition of her outstanding record of professional achievements to date, Dean Gary Bowen said in announcing Baumgartner’s appointment.

“Dr. Baumgartner possesses a unique set of attributes that combine academic rigor, methodological precision and a highly collaborative style,” Bowen noted. “Her scholarly areas of expertise, skills and career trajectory fit well with the needs of our School.

“She will be a valuable addition to our faculty, especially in supporting our expanding global program,” he added.

Baumgartner described social work and public health as her core academic disciplines.

“I think some of the most exciting work that social workers are doing is ensuring that both health and social needs are addressed via multi-sector collaborations,” Baumgartner said.

“Social workers are leaders, connectors and change agents — here and around the globe,” she added.  “Our field [is] well poised to contribute to co-designing, implementing and evaluating complex health and social policies and programs.

“My mental health projects are all based in low- and middle-income countries, but many of the intervention strategies and implementation challenges are global in nature.”

Baumgartner currently serves as associate research professor of global health and director of the Duke Global Health Institute Evidence Lab at Duke University. In this capacity, she directs a global research program on maternal and child health, adolescent health, reproductive health and mental health, largely in sub-Saharan Africa. She currently serves as Principal Investigator on studies in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and Cameroon and is PI or Co-PI for nearly $3.5 million in funded research projects.

She also serves as an adjunct associate professor at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, where she earned her Ph.D. in 2004. She completed her Master of Social Work degree at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and served as a post-doctoral researcher in psychiatric epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Baumgartner’s appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2021.