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Sula Hood

Senior Research Scientist


PhD, Public Health Sciences, University of Louisville
MPH, Behavioral Science and Epidemiology, Saint Louis University
BA, English, College of Wooster

Dr. Sula Hood is a Senior Research Scientist in the Center for Communication and Engagement Research at RTI. She has extensive training and experience in disparities and health communication research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a two-year National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded traineeship in Eliminating Health Disparities completed in the nationally recognized Health Communication Research Laboratory (HCRL). She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Health Disparities at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill North Carolina.

Dr. Hood joined RTI in 2022 and plays a key role in All of Us, an NIH effort to enroll one million or more participants in a longitudinal research cohort. As part of this effort, All of Us is reaching out to populations that have been underrepresented in biomedical research and recently launched a researcher academy focused on minority-serving institutions. Dr. Hood holds an interest in understanding patterns and characteristics of interpersonal communication within families, with an emphasis on family health history information sharing. She utilizes her study findings to inform the development of community-based programs and strategies to promote the importance of family health history awareness and genomic literacy.

Dr. Hood is an expert in the design, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based public health programs and interventions. Since 2008, her research has focused on the design and testing of culturally sensitive health communication strategies for promoting health behavior changes, and has covered a variety of health topics, including cancer screening and prevention, physical activity, and COVID-19 vaccination. She is highly experienced in conducting formative studies to inform the development of solutions that are responsive to the expressed needs and preferences of community stakeholders. Dr. Hood is an advocate for culturally informed community engagement as standard of practice in designing and implementing health solutions with Populations and Communities of Color.

Her professional experience includes over 15 years of leading community engaged research studies, with a focus on advancing health equity and improving outcomes among minority and underserved populations. In 2016, she was recognized as a Duke Social Networks and Health Fellow. She has also held service roles at the national level. In 2022, Dr. Hood served as invited co-chair for a 2-day NIDDK-sponsored workshop on "The Social Component of Diabetes Health Disparities: New Directions in Analyses and Interventions Through Social Networks and Structure." She is also an invited member of the CDC National Family Health History Working Group.

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