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Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH

Sharrelle Barber

Assistant Professor
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
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BS, Biology, Bennett College; MPH, Health Behavior and Health Education, UNC-Chapel Hill; ScD, Social Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Dr. Barber received a Doctor of Science (ScD) degree in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research focuses on the intersection of “place, race, and health” and examines the role of structural racism (i.e. concentrated economic disadvantage and residential segregation) in shaping health and racial/ethnic health inequalities among Blacks with a particular focus on the Southern United States and Brazil. To that end, she has conducted a series of empirical investigations in the Jackson Heart Study based in Jackson, Mississippi and the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil), a multi-site cohort study based in six urban centers across Brazil.  Dr. Barber’s research employs multilevel analysis and spatial techniques and draws heavily from theories that take a socio-ecological approach to understanding health and health inequalities. Ultimately, Dr. Barber hopes her research will inform the development of multi-level, multi-sector policies that will address the underlying structural determinants of health through economic and social policy initiatives.

Research Interests

  • Racial/Ethnic Health Inequalities in Cardiovascular Disease
  • Social Determinants of Racial/Ethnic Health Inequalities in Cardiovascular Disease
  • Community-Engaged Research
  • Geography and Health
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Spatial Analysis and GIS
  • Global Health
  • Urban Health


Barber S, Diez-Roux AV, Cardoso L, Santos S, James, SA, Toste V, Barreto S, Schmidt M, Giatti L, Chor D (in press). At the Intersection of Place, Race, and Health in Brazil: Residential Segregation and Cardio-metabolic Risk Factors in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil). Social Science and Medicine Special Issue on Racism and Health Inequalities, doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.05.047.

Wang X, Auchincloss A, Barber S, Sims M, Griswold M, Mayne S, Diez-Roux AV (2017). Neighborhood Social Environment as a Risk Factor for Health Behaviors Among African Americans in the Jackson Heart Study. Health and Place, 45, 199-207, doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2017.04.002.

Barber S, Hickson DA, Wang X, Sims M, Nelson C, Diez-Roux AV (2016). Neighborhood Disadvantage, Poor Social Conditions, and Cardiovascular Disease Incidence Among African American Adults in the Jackson Heart Study. American Journal of Public Health, 106(12), 2219-2226. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303471.

Barber S, Hickson DA, Kawachi I, Subramanian SV, Earls F (2016). Double Jeopardy: Examining the Joint Impact of Neighborhood Disadvantage and Low Social Cohesion on Cumulative Risk of Disease Among African American Women and Men in the Jackson Heart Study. Social Science and Medicine, 153, 107-115. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.02.001.

Barber S, Hickson DA, Kawachi I, Subramanian SV, Earls F (2015). Neighborhood Disadvantage and Cumulative Biological Risk Among a Socioeconomically Diverse Sample of African American Adults: An Examination in the Jackson Heart Study. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. doi: 10.1007/s40615-015-0157-0.

Green MA, Kim MM, Barber S, Odulana AA, Godley PA, Howard DL, Corbie-Smith G (2013). Connecting Communities to Health Research: Recruitment Strategies and the Development of the Project CONNECT Minority Research Registry. Contemporary Clinical Trials. doi:10.1016/j.cct.2013.01.001.