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Principal Investigators

Dr. Jeannette WadeDr. Jeanette Wade seated and smiling wearing a black and white polka dot shirt and scarf and a pink headband.

I am a black feminist medical sociologist in the Department of Social Work and Sociology at North Carolina A&T State University. My work is guided by the ‘Strong Black Woman’ ideal and how “praising” black women’s self and socially proclaimed strength may act as a buffer from racism and sexism, but may also put their mental and physical health at risk. My work includes studies of the Superwoman Schema and how it predicts diet and exercise trends as well as sexual health and health care. I have a passion for fighting poverty, improving health-related autonomy, and dismantling medical racism. To this end, I am associated with several ongoing studies of the social determinants of health and student success.

My interest in the social determinants of sexual health began as a practitioner when I (1) worked in community health serving adolescent mothers, (2) facilitated the HIV prevention workshop known as SISTA (sisters informing sisters on topics about AIDS), and (3) taught HIV prevention courses in women’s jails in Cleveland, Ohio.

More about Dr. Wade at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University »

Dr. Sharon ParkerDr. Sharon Parker smiling and wearing a pink shirt

I am an associate professor of Social Work in the joint MSW and PhD programs at North Carolina A&T State University and UNC – Greensboro. I have a strong background in health disparities research examining the structural, social, behavioral, and biological factors influencing the transmission of STIs and HIV among African Americans and women. I have conducted HIV/STI prevention and intervention research with women prisoners, African American adolescent girls, and mothers, and with African American and Latino women living in impoverished communities. My involvement includes contributing to the conceptualization, development, implementation, and evaluation of several randomized control trials conducted at the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women. In addition, I am an expert in qualitative methodologies. I have worked on several National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded grants as a qualitative expert and interventionist.

More about Dr. Parker at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University »

Dr. Helyne Frederick

My program of research examines both familial and extra-familial factors associated with risky sexual behaviors for adolescents and young adults, particularly black and Caribbean youth. With a small internal grant from Eastern Kentucky University, I conducted qualitative interviews with Grenadian adolescents about their reproductive health and communication with their mothers about sexuality issues. I independently organized, recruited, and interviewed the young women in their homes. This study resulted in a publication and peer reviewed conference presentations. More recently, I collected data and published a manuscript examining Caribbean and American women perception of sexual communication and other health behavior issues with mothers. This study was published in 2018 by Health Care for Women International. My dissertation and other scholarship involved the use of the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health. I examined factors such as parental communication, support, monitoring, neighborhood connectedness, and religiosity using an ecological framework. My dissertation utilized data from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health to examine the interpersonal factors related to risky sexual behaviors and sexually transmitted disease contraction among African American adolescents and young adults. This project included a longitudinal analysis to examine how the relationship quality and type as well as cognitive processes in early adolescence are associated with risky sexual outcomes and contraction of an STD by young adulthood. Additionally, the study examined whether cognitive processes namely, motivation, safe-sex, self-efficacy, and risk perception mediate the relationship between partner characteristics and risky sexual behaviors over time. Findings from this study are expected to have a positive impact on the reproductive,

More about Dr. Frederick at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education »

Research Assistants

Brianna Wiley

Master of Social Work student JMSW program at North Carolina A&T State University and UNC – Greensboro.



Dorrian Wilson

Master of Education, Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship student at UNC.

My name is Dorrian Wilson, grad student and research assistant at UNC Chapel Hill. As an African American woman that has faced significant challenges with regards to healthcare due to lack of diversity and access, this study is important to me because the outcome has the potential to influence change, policy, and reveal the existing blind spots in black women’s sexual healthcare.

Kiwani Taylor smiling and wearing a gray sweater

Kwani Taylor

Bachelor of Psychology student at North Carolina A&T State University.