Marc Emerson

Marc Emerson, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Epidemiology
2101 McGavran-Greenberg Hall
Campus Box 7435
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Dr. Marc Emerson is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on integrating biological and socioecological perspectives in addressing cancer care disparities and access to care. In practice, he hopes this research will contribute towards improving American Indian/Alaskan Native cancer outcomes. In his research and pedagogy, he prioritizes Indigenous methods and analytic frameworks to help mitigate environmental and psychological harms associated with Western science applications. He is Diné (Navajo) and Jemez from the Navajo Nation.

Honors and Awards

Eddie Méndez Postdoctoral Scholar Award
2020, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Delta Omega Inductee
2020, Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, Theta Chapter

Inspiring Meaningful Programs and Communication Through Science Award
2019, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Tribal Researchers’ Cancer Control Fellow
2017, Portland Area Indian Health Board, Portland, Oregon

Community Engagement Fellow
2017, Carolina Center for Public Service

Intramural Research Training Award Trainee
2016, Office of the Intramural Training and Education, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Key Publications

Confronting legacies of structural racism and settler colonialism to understand COVID-19 impacts on the Navajo Nation. Emerson MA, Montoya T  (2019). American Journal of Public Health, 111.
View publication

Initiation and adherence to adjuvant endocrine therapy among urban, insured American Indian/Alaskan Native breast cancer survivors. Emerson MA, Achacoso N, Benfield HC, Troester MA, Habel LA (2021). Cancer.
View publication

Disparities in prostate, lung, breast, and colorectal cancer survival and comorbidity status among urban American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Emerson MA, Banegas MP, Chawla N, Achacoso N, Alexeeff SE, Adams AS, Habel LA (2017). Cancer Res, 77.

Breast cancer treatment delays by socioeconomic and health care access latent classes in Black and White women. Emerson MA, Golightly YM, Aiello AE, Reeder-Hayes KE, Tan X, Maduekwe U, Johnson-Thompson M, Olshan AF, Troester MA (2020). Cancer, 126.

Integrating access to care and tumor patterns by race and age in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, 2008-2013. Emerson MA, Golightly YM, Tan X, Aiello AE, Reeder-Hayes KE, Olshan AF, Earp HS, Troester MA (2020). Cancer Causes Control, 31.

Correlates of alcohol-related treatment among American Indians and Alaska Natives with lifetime Alcohol Use Disorder. Emerson MA, Moore RS, Caetano R (2019). Alcohol Clin Exp Res, 43.

Association between lifetime Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and past year Alcohol Use Disorder among American Indians/Alaska Natives and non-Hispanic Whites. Emerson MA, Moore RS, Caetano R (2017). Alcohol Clin Exp Res, 41.


  • PhD, Epidemiology, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, 2019
  • MPH, Epidemiology, San Diego State University, 2012
  • BA, Psychology, San Diego State University, 2008