James Emery, MPH

Research Associate
Department of Health Behavior


James Emery is a Research Associate with 25 years of experience in improving systems, policies and built environments for healthy living. He has training in multiple disciplines including: public health, public policy, public administration and urban planning. 

As a training professional, Jim has expertise in curriculum development, instructional delivery using adult methods, and coaching to refine trainers’ delivery style. He is currently part of a team redesigning and facilitating the Indian Health Service Injury Prevention Fellowship and curriculum. Jim is the lead author and trainer of the national, competency-based Systems Change for Health curriculum to help the public health workforce learn how to influence social, organizational, and policy systems to improve health. Jim has developed tailored learning events on many health issues including: obesity, tobacco, opioids, injury, children with special health care needs, walkability. Jim co-teaches HBEH 775 a graduate policy course at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

As a systems thinker, Jim facilitates the NC Healthy Environments Collaborative of state agencies striving to improve governance systems to support healthy, equitable communities. Jim also managed a 2-year safety culture assessment for one of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation regions. Jim developed free tools and a guidebook to help communities audit the walkability and bikeability of local streets (WABSA).

Representative Courses

HBEH 775: Introduction to Public Health Policy and the Policy-Making Process

Practice Activities

I provide technical assistance to state and local government agencies during strategic planning, system diagnosis, policy analysis and development. I develop and facilitate tailored adult-learning events for public health agencies, their non-profit partners, and community groups. Personally I've worked in Buncombe, Chatham, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Granville, Greenville, Halifax, Henderson, Johnston, Mecklenberg, Nash, New Hanover, Orange, Robeson, Sampson, Vance, Wake, and Wilkes counties.

Key Publications

Assessing the walking and bicycling suitability of sidewalks and roads. Emery, J.E., Crump, C.E., & Bors, Pl (2003). American Journal of Health Promotions, 18(1), 38-46.

Formative evaluation of AARP’s Active for Life Campaign to improve walking and bicycling environments in two cities. Emery, J.E., Crump, C.E., Hawkins, M (2007). Health Promotion Practice, 8(4), 403-414.

Safety Culture Assessment for U.S. Bureau of Reclamation – Pacific Northwest Region (PNR) – Final Report. Emery, J., Crump, C., & Emery, R (2017).  Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill .

Evidence of Effectiveness of DPP Lifestyle Interventions, Promotion, and Messaging for Women with a History of GDM, and for Older Adults: October 2017 Literature Review. Emery, J. & Crump, C (2017). Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill .

Influencing Workplace Safety Culture: Issue Brief. Emery, J. & Crump, C (2018). Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.