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RTI International names 2018-2019 class of RTI University Scholars

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — This year’s class of RTI University Scholars includes researchers from Duke University, North Carolina Agricultural & Technological State University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The RTI University Scholars Program supports highly talented academics who take scholarly leave from their home institutions to collaborate with RTI researchers.

The four scholars who will spend up to one academic year at RTI working on strategic research projects are Alice Ammerman, DrPH (UNC-Chapel Hill); Mohd Anwar, PhD, (NC A&T State); Hollylynne Lee, PhD, (NC State); Eleanor Stevenson, PhD, RN (Duke).

The Scholars represent a variety of specialties and will work with RTI researchers on the following projects:

  • Ammerman, a professor in the Department of Nutrition in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will collaborate with RTI’s Mary Muth, PhD, and Rachel Nugent, PhD. The collaborative project will focus on understanding the underlying causes of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and the role of, and availability and access to adequate nutritious food.
  • Anwar, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at NC Agricultural & Technical State University, will collaborate with Kevin Conway, PhD, and Steve Cohen, PhD, to gather meaningful and actionable insight on the opioid crisis using social media.
  • Lee, a professor of Mathematics and Statistics Education in the College of Education, and a University Faculty Scholar and Faculty Fellow at the Friday Institute at NC State University, will partner with John Vavricka, JD, and Peter Baumgartner. The collaborative project will design and pilot test an intelligent learning system for a professional development course for K-16 educators on integrating statistics and data science across disciplines.
  • Stevenson, an associate professor in the School of Nursing at Duke University, will collaborate with Cristina Bisson to develop evidence-based approaches to better integrate men into family planning services by approaching care delivery from a family-focused perspective.

Since 2014-2015, RTI has hosted University Scholars each academic year. Two scholars participated in the program’s inaugural year, seven in 2015-2016, six in 2016-2017, and five in 2017-2018.

Former RTI University Scholar (2017-2018), Michael Relf, PhD, described his experience as one that “allowed us to leverage the resources of two world class institutions, RTI and Duke University, to collaborate to address an area of mutual interest and develop a plan for long-term collaboration.”  

“The RTI University Scholars Program has allowed Dr. Michael Relf and I begin building joint work on understanding and addressing internalized HIV-stigma among women in East Africa,” said Laura Nyblade, PhD, senior research health policy analyst at RTI. “Specifically, building collaborations with partners in Rwanda and Tanzania and collecting preliminary data that will position us to submit an NIH proposal.”   

The program is currently open to faculty members from Duke and all 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina System and is administered by the RTI University Collaboration Office.