Dorothy Holland was Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her publications, including several books, edited volumes and articles, theorized a social practice approach to identity, and focus on social movements, activism and local democracy. She was co-founder of the Center for Integrating Research and Action (CIRA) at UNC, and co-founder and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research. Professor Holland passed away in April of 2019. This site is dedicated to her invaluable contributions to the University,   the Certificate, and all who were fortunate enough to know her.


Director, Angela Stuesse is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Global Studies. She is a founding organizer of UndocuCarolina and serves on the Advisory Board of the Latina/o Studies Program. She is committed to involving students in participatory, politically engaged research and believes deeply in the transformative potential of experiential learning. Her trajectory as an educator began in popular and adult education settings, and she strives to bring these sensibilities into the university classroom, using interactive techniques that value and build upon students’ life experience, fostering horizontal relationships of shared responsibility, and creating opportunities for students to problem-solve real-world issues.

Community Expert and Co-Director, Melvin Jackson, MSPH, has over 30 years of experience in public health research and program coordination. He is the Director of Operations for Strengthening The Black Family, Incorporated, a community-based nonprofit organization in Raleigh, NC. Mr. Jackson serves as Community Expert Consultant with the UNC CTSA Supplement project entitled “Community Engagement Consulting Models: Taking Them to Scale.” He is the Community Course Director for the UNC Faculty Engaged Scholars Program and Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research.

Board Members

Alice Ammerman is the Director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and the principal investigator of the Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation at UNC. Her recent research focuses on childhood obesity and school nutrition programs, sustainable agriculture as it relates to improved nutrition, and the potential of social entrepreneurship as a approach to addressing public health concerns, charged with identification, translation, and dissemination of evidence-based interventions for obesity and cardiovascular disease control and prevention. She is the author of more than 75 articles and book chapters.

Geni Eng directs the Community Health Scholars post-doctoral program. She teaches community organization, cross-cultural aspects of health education practices, community diagnosis and health issues relevant to women, ethnic minorities, and developing nations. Her current research projects apply community-based research principles to the design and evaluation of lay health advisor interventions and look at the influence of sociocultural factors on STD’s and early detection of breast cancer.

Lauren G. Leve is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies. She studies the political and cultural dynamics of religion in South Asia using ethnographic studies of religion as a window into broader issues of local and global life. The majority of her research takes place in Nepal where she has worked on development, NGOs, and women’s empowerment in addition to, and as they intersect with, Buddhist modernism and the growth of Christianity. Her participatory work with Nepali women goes back to the nineteen-nineties and continues in new forms in the wake of the 2015 Nepal earthquakes.

Alex Lightfoot is the assistant director for the Community Engagement/Partnerships Core and CBPR Unit of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at UNC. She is also the project director for the W.K. Kellogg Health Scholars Program, and serves as the Executive Director of the Paul Green Foundation. Her research and work examine the intersections of educational inequities and health disparities.

Patricia A. McAnany, Kenan Eminent Professor of Anthropology, is a Maya archaeologist who has conducted field research and cultural heritage programs through the Maya region. She is the recipient of several research awards from the National Science Foundation and of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for the Arts & Humanities (UNC, Chapel Hill), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Radcliffe Center for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Her professional interests include the intersection of ritual and economy, ancestor veneration, the creation and abandonment of place, and the cross threading of cultural heritage with indigenous identities. She founded the Maya Area Cultural Heritage Initiative ( and co-founded InHerit: Indigenous Heritage Passed to Present ( Her current research project is a community-based archaeological investigation of life conditions for Yukatek Mayan peoples during the early Colonial period in Yucatán, Mexico.

Cherie Rivers Ndaliko is an interdisciplinary scholar, activist, and the Executive Director of the Yole!Africa cultural center ( located in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The focus of her research is art and social justice in African warzones. With data gathered through empirical research, ethnography, and community based participatory methods, she advocates for a paradigm shift in the application of arts activism within humanitarian and charitable aid in Africa. Her analyses of contemporary sociopolitical artworks draw from the fields of African studies, ethnomusicology, film/media studies, and cultural theory.

Patricia Parker is Professor in the department of Communication and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a critical organizational communication and leadership scholar, her scholarship focuses on questions about access, equity, and participatory democracy at the intersections of race, gender, class, and power in organization processes. Pat is the author of Race, Gender, and Leadership and Ella Baker’s Catalytic Organizing Praxis, which documents a multiyear participatory research study with African American girls learning social justice leadership in their communities. She has several essays and book chapters appearing in journals and edited volumes, including Management Communication QuarterlyLeadership QuarterlyJournal of International and Intercultural Communication ResearchCommunication Yearbook, and the Sage Handbook of Organizational Communication. She is the 2013 recipient of the Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the inaugural recipient (2010) of the Engaged Scholars Service Award from the National Communication Association’s Organizational Communication Division.

Sara Smith is a feminist political geographer interested in the relationship between territory, bodies, and the everyday. In her research she seeks to understand how politics and geopolitics are constituted or disrupted through intimate acts of love, friendship, and birth. She has worked on these questions in the Ladakh region of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state in relation to marriage and family planning. In collaboration with the GCPR she works on strategies to decolonize how methodology is taught in the university. She is also a founding member of the FLOCK feminist collective

Hannah Gill is the Program Director for the Latino Migrant Project. She is an anthropologist and oral historian with a specialization in Latin American/Caribbean migration studies. She is the author of the book, “The Latino Migration Experience in North Carolina: New Roots in the Old North State.” Hannahis also associate director of the Institute for the Study of the America’s and research associate at the Center for Global Initiatives at UNC-Chapel Hill. She received a DPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford, England. She is a native of North Carolina and an alumna of UNC Chapel Hill.

Special Roles

GCPR Research Assistant

Lindsay Savelli is an MPH student in the Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights program at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.