Cancer Health Disparities Training Program in Health Behavior

Postdoctoral Training Opportunity

Applications are due January 29, 2018;  Candidates selected will be notified by March 2, 2018.


Dr. Geni Eng, Postdoctoral Trainees Kia Davis, Katrina Ellis, Chantel Martin and Dr. Alexandra Lightfoot (2017 photo.)

The Cancer Health Disparities Training Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers postdoctoral training on cross-cutting health disparity issues across the cancer continuum, from etiology and primary prevention to survivorship. The program includes the major cancers and addresses risk factors, epidemiological bases of disparities, detection, epidemiology, research methods, prevention and control, promotion, screening, communication, community-based participatory research  and policy.

Fellows receive up to two years of funding. At the end of each year, each fellow’s performance is evaluated  and funding for  the next year depends  on the progress made. Fellows are assigned faculty mentors in more than one discipline and benefit from the UNC’s highly collaborative, productive and multidisciplinary faculty.


if you have questions about the application process, contact Annette Raines (

Dr. Eng

Geni Eng, DrPh, professor of health behavior is principal investigator. Her research focuses on the integration of community development and health education interventions in the rural United States and developing countries. Eng’s current projects apply community-based, participatory research to the design and evaluation of interventions relevant to women, racial and ethnic communities and developing nations. She teaches community organization, cross-cultural aspects of health-education practices, community-based participatory research methodology and photovoice.

Dr. Alexandra Lightfoot, headshot

Dr. Alexandra Lightfoot

Alexandra Lightfoot, EdD, research assistant professor of health behavior, is training grant program director. Lightfoot also serves as director of the community engagement, partnerships and technical assistance core at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, a CDC-funded prevention research center.

The program’s goal is to educate and train talented scientists to become future leaders in cancer health disparities research.


Dr. Geni Eng works closely with the postdoctoral fellows here. Fellows value being mentored by our highly-collaborative and multidisciplinary faculty in this unique program. These relationships are key to their professional development.

The program is administered through the Gillings School’s Department of Health Behavior and also draws upon collaborative, interdisciplinary research teams working with cancer health disparities  across campus, especially in the schools of public health and medicine, the Cecil B. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Eligible candidates have  completed a doctoral degree (PhD, DrPH, MD, or equivalent) in a field related to public health and cancer, pharmacy, or medicine.

Candidates are required to articulate a strong commitment to conducting research in cancer health disparities and ultimately obtaining a career position that enables them  to participate actively  in initiatives aimed at eliminating cancer health disparities.

Initial application must include:

  • Curriculum vita
  • Cover letter
  • List of references

Candidates selected for interviews will be provided a list of potential CHDP mentors and asked to submit supplemental material including:

  • Personal statement of qualifications and professional objectives, cancer health disparities experience, example of research project or projects conducted.
  • Three letters of reference providing information on how long recommenders have known the applicant and in what capacity, the applicant’s facility at working with multicultural groups, research skills, demonstrated productivity, written and oral communication skills, ability to work as part of a team, leadership capacity and potential for successful career in cancer health disparities research.