Associate professor Sarah “Betsy” Bledsoe and assistant professor Rachel W. Goode are among 10 faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill selected to join the eighth class of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars (FES).
The two-year program, which is sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service and supported through the Chancellor Holden Thorp Endowment Fund, brings together leaders in their respective fields from across campus to participate in an experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship. Selected faculty are awarded a total of $10,000 to support their research initiatives.
Scholars participate in sessions in community settings to learn from other Carolina faculty and their community partners. While developing individual projects, each class of scholars forms a learning community along with the faculty and community course directors to support one another’s projects and community partners.
Bledsoe and Goode are the latest faculty at the School of Social Work to be selected for the prestigious program. Professors Mimi Chapman and Rebecca Macy and associate professor Amy Wilson are all FES graduates.
Bledsoe, who joined the School of Social Work faculty in 2007, focuses her research on strengthening the mental health of adults, adolescents, children and families, particularly those surviving poverty and discrimination. As a Thorp scholar, she aims to further support her work on maternal health and well-being in southeastern North Carolina, where she collaborates with Healthy Start, Nurse Family Partnership, Robeson County Healthcare Corporation, Robeson County Health Department, and community mothers to better understand the needs of rural mothers around health and emotional well-being, with a goal of developing equitable interventions for high-risk, rural mothers. Her focus is on families impacted by depression, anxiety and trauma, and fundamental causes of disease, with an emphasis on pregnancy and early childhood. Her research investigates how poverty and marginalization increase the risks of disease.
Goode, who joined the School of Social Work in 2017, focuses her research on developing, implementing, and evaluating equitable and community-engaged interventions to treat obesity and eating disorders. As a Thorp scholar, she plans to design and develop a culturally relevant and remotely delivered diabetes self-management education program for African Americans with type 2 diabetes. Her current research concentrates on the eating behaviors of Black women and developing digital health treatment programs for binge eating, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Goode aims to increase her knowledge on how to collaborate with community partners on research projects to prevent and treat the chronic disparities of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and to design interventions that improve health equity.
Since the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars initiative began in 2007, a total of 73 faculty members have been selected to participate in the program from all professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC.