Dr. Erin Kent

Erin Kent, PhD

Associate Chair for Research
Department of Health Policy and Management
Associate Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management
1102B McGavran_Greenberg Hall
CB #7411
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7411


Erin E. Kent is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Research in Health Policy and Management at the UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is a full Member of Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and a Health Services Research Fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center, working with the Rural Health Research Program.

Her mission is to develop and implement into practice serious illness supportive care interventions, conduct research that informs the development of policies that support caregivers, and develop strategies to promote a more equitable culture of care. She conducts this work in collaboration with many interdisciplinary researchers and clinicians at UNC and beyond.

She is a member of the North Carolina Serious Illness Coalition and Caregiving Collaborative, which both aim to elevate caregiver voices and build up state services and programs for caregivers in the state. At UNC, she runs the Caregiving Collaboratory to provide students and fellows a space for pedagogy, mentoring, and collaboration in caregiving research. With support from The Duke Endowment and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, Dr. Kent is currently adapting a social support intervention for caregivers of rural cancer patients to help them both recognize and build their informal support network and connect with formal support resources.

Prior joining the faculty at UNC in 2019, Dr. Kent served as a Program Director and Scientific Advisor for the Outcomes Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). There, Dr. Kent worked to establish funding opportunities and research resources to better understand the challenges that caregivers face and develop family-centered interventions for cancer patients and their caregivers. Dr. Kent served as scientific lead for the SEER-Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (SEER-MHOS) linked database on patient-reported outcomes and as senior advisor for the SEER-Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (SEER-CAHPS) survey- and claims-linked database on patient experiences with care. Previously, Dr. Kent was a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the Office of Cancer Survivorship at NCI.

A major focus for Dr. Kent is training and mentorship. Dr. Kent works with students, postdoctoral fellows, and other trainees in research proposal development, mixed methods and qualitative research, intervention development and adaptation.

Research Activities

  • Cancer survivorship
  • Cancer caregiving
  • Palliative care
  • Mixed methods
  • Social determinants of health
  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Survey development
  • Data linkages and informatics


  • BA, Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 2000
  • MS, Interdisciplinary Studies: Animal Behavior, San Diego State University, 2005
  • PhD, Environmental Health, Science, and Policy, University of California, Irvine, 2010