Dr. Dane Emmerling

Dane Emmerling, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Health Behavior


Dane Emmerling is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health focused on teaching. Dane’s pedagogy is centered on the process of sociopolitical development through which individuals increase their analytic skills and capacity to build a healthier and more just world. He researches and evaluates critical consciousness raising interventions, or experiences and programs that shift individuals’ and institutions’ attitudes and behaviors about their participation in systems. Before starting the PhD, Dane worked in global health evaluation and in service-learning offices supporting universities linkages with community organizations.

Honors and Awards

Summer Research Grant
2021, Center for Study of the American South

Summer Qualitative Institute Ambassador
2021, ResearchTalk

Summer Research Grant
2020, Center for Study of the American South

Community Engagement Fellowship
2020, Center for Public Service

Seed Grant
2020, Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research

Teaching Interests

Durham For All

Inclusive Excellence Council, Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Representative Courses

Leading from the Inside Out: SPHG 701

Community-Led Capstone Project: HBEH 746

System and Solutions: SPHG 352

Research Activities

Most recently this work has been in the form of partnering with the Racial Equity Institute (REI) to evaluate their Phase 1 training on structural racism. The partnership involved 1.) interviewing the community organizers who lead the REI trainings and the organizations who book REI for training, 2.) conducting a quantitative evaluation of changes in participant’s knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors with more than two thousand training participants, and 3.) writing a case study on a system change process led by one of REI's partners that involves judges, teachers, social workers among other stakeholders, who are coming together to collectively shift the disproportionate outcomes in the juvenile justice system in their city. Dane also researches experiential education pedagogy and impact.

Key Publications

Designing Service-Learning to Enhance Social Justice Commitments: A Critical Reflection Tool. Stith, M., Anderson, T., Emmerling, D., Malone, D., Sikes, K., Clayton, P., & Bringle, R. (2021). Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, 4(2), 9-17.

Seeing Community Engagement as We Are: Student Perceptions of Service-Learning and Social Entrepreneurship Education. Clifford, J., Emmerling, D., Widney, E., Hamilton, N., & Malone, D. (2020).  International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, 8(1).

Problems with systems of medical equipment provision: an evaluation in Honduras, Rwanda and Cambodia identifies opportunities to strengthen healthcare systems. Emmerling, D., Dahinten, A., & Malkin, R. A. Health and Technology, 8(1-2), 129-135.

Community health workers as agents of health promotion: Analyzing Thailand’s village health volunteer program. Kowitt, S. D., Emmerling, D., Fisher, E. B., & Tanasugarn, C. (2015). Journal of Community Health.


  • PhD, Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, 2022
  • MPH, Health Behavior , UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, 2013
  • BS, Biochemistry , NC State University, 2008