Whitney R. Robinson, PhD

Assistant Professor Department of Epidemiology
Co-leader UNC Social Epidemiology Program
Faculty Fellow Carolina Population Center
Member UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

T:(919) 966-7940

F:(919) 966-2089


Dr. Robinson works on discovering how and why rates of obesity and cancer differ among groups. For instance, why do Black American girls have greater obesity risk than Black boys? Why do breast cancer rates differ between Black and White women?

Honors and Awards

“Now Speaker” for SER’s inaugural invited “Then and Now” special sessions
2014, Society for Epidemiologic Research

Nominated as a member of 2016 Epidemiology Congress Planning committee
2014, Society for Epidemiologic Research

Advisee, Shannon Grabich, one of 12 (out of 55 applications) selected for 2014 SER Student Workshop
2014, Society for Epidemiologic Research Student Workshop

2013, Obesity Society

Research Activities

Breast cancer disparities
Obesity development
Epidemiologic methods
Health disparities by gender
Health disparities by race and ethnicity

Key Publications

On the causal interpretation of race in regressions adjusting for confounding and mediating variables. Whitney Robinson, Tyler VanderWeele (2014). Epidemiology, 25(4), 473-484.

Childbearing is not associated with young women's long-term obesity risk. Mariah Cheng, Katherine Hoggatt, Whitney Robinson, Anna Siega-Riz, Til Stürmer (2014). Obesity, 22(4), 1126-1132.

Birth cohort effects among US-born adults born in the 1980s: Foreshadowing future trends in US obesity prevalence. K.M. Keyes, C.L. Martin, W.R. Robinson, R.L. Utz, Y. Yang (2013). International Journal of Obesity, 37(3), 448-454.

Gender-specific effects of early nutritional restriction on adult obesity risk: Evidence from quasi-experimental studies. Whitney Robinson (2012). Obesity, 20(12), 2464-2466.

The female-male disparity in obesity prevalence among black American young adults: Contributions of sociodemographic characteristics of the childhood family. Penny Gordon-Larsen, Jay Kaufman, Whitney Robinson, June Stevens, Chirayath Suchindran (2009). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(4), 1204-1212.

Systematic review of prostate cancer's association with body size in childhood and young adulthood. Paul Godley, Charles Poole, Whitney Robinson (2008). Cancer Causes and Control, 19(8), 793-803.


PhD, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2008

MSPH, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2004

AB, Biochemical Sciences, Harvard University, 2001