RTI University Scholars Program

Since 2014, UNC Gillings faculty have participated in the RTI University Scholars Program which provides partial support for distinguished academic researchers to spend scholarly leave time at RTI, actively collaborating with RTI experts. The ideal Scholar is a tenured or research-track faculty member at the Associate Professor level or higher with a commitment to collaboration and a strong research record in a field that aligns with RTI’s practice areas and services and capabilities.

2022-2023 Cohort

Dr. Courtney Woods

Dr. Courtney Woods

Courtney Woods, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Evironmental Sciences and Engineering

Courtney G. Woods, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, will study rural water quality and risk perception associated with solid waste landfills.   

RTI Collaborators: Crystal Lee Pow Jackson, Ph.D., research environmental scientist in the Center for Environmental Health, Risk and Sustainability; Brian Southwell, Ph.D., senior director, Science in the Public Sphere, Center for Communication Science; and Rohit B. Warrier, Ph.D., research environmental engineer, Center for Environmental Health, Risk and Sustainability  

Woods and collaborators will apply community-based participatory approaches to research on the effect of landfill contaminants on environmental and human health, measuring private water quality at residences near a major North Carolina landfill. Research will inform a framework for investigating risk perception among private well users who live near landfills. “Private well users across the country continue to be underserved and at the biggest risk for hazards in their drinking water,” noted RTI collaborators in their support for Woods’s research. “We believe that our collaboration with Dr. Woods will advance scientific stature through innovative research.” 

Explore Other Cohorts.

Student Engagement

By mentoring the brightest undergraduate and graduate minds in a variety of disciplines at the North Carolina headquarters and other offices in the United States and around the world, RTI helps to expand public health research and capabilities, while also creating a vibrant network of intern alumni who go on to assume roles at the institute and elsewhere.

The following Gillings students participated, or are currently participating, in RTI’s Internship Program from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022.

Abigale Hughes (Current)
ACO Shared Savings Program Practicum Internship
MPH, Leadership In Practice, UNC- Chapel Hill, 2023

Abigale interned with the Comprehensive Health Innovation, Research & Policy (CHIRP) program. In this role, she supported quality management activities and a quality management strategy, as well as managed program data by conducting analyses to inform program administration.

Elizabeth Kimmel (Current)

Global Noncommunicable Diseases Internship
MPH, Environmental Health Solutions, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2023

Elizabeth interned with the Global Health division. In this role, she supported research into neglected tropical diseases through disease burden, policy, and economic analyses.

Gugma Vidal (Current)
Technical Writer Internship
BSPH, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2025

Gugma interned with Lab 58. In this role, she refined Lab 58 technology and marketing, as well as researched and wrote articles and recorded podcast videos.

Maggie Rothenberg (Former*)
Health Research Analyst Intern
2022 RTI Mentee of the Year
MPH, Place-Based Health, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2023
BA, Psychology, UNC Asheville, 2021

Maggie interned with the Centers for Disease Control Mammography Disparities team. In this role, she reviewed various data entries and reports to help synthesize findings.

*Maggie Rothenberg began her RTI journey summer 2021 as a Health Research Analyst Intern. Embracing all of the opportunities of mentorship, Rothenberg progressed from intern, to full-time contractor, to full-time employment in March 2022.

Brianna Chan (Former) 
Air Quality & Health Intern
BSPH, Environmental Health Sciences, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2022

Brianna interned with the Air Quality & Exposure team. In this role, she was part of a team that focuses on scientific engineering solutions to issues surrounding air pollution exposure. She conducted research activities—including scientific writing and communication, data processing, and data analysis.

Chelsea Ducille (Former) 
Maternal and Child Health: Global Health Intern
PhD, Maternal and Child Health, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2023
MSPH, Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins, 2017
BA, Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies, Duke, 2015

Chelsea interned with the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Division. In this role, she conducted mapping exercises of active demographic surveillance systems, assisted with synthesizing site-specific study protocols for prenatal study, and assisted with data harmonization and data analysis activities.

Kevin Smith (Former)
SUGAR Research Assistant Internship
PhD, Health Behavior, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2023
MPH, Public Health, The University of Edinburgh, 2013
BS, Clinical Laboratory Science, 2012

As an intern in the Substance Use, Gender, and Applied Research (SUGAR) program, Kevin assisted the SUGAR team with research assistant-related tasks across multiple HIV prevention studies, including adolescent girls, young women, and couples, in South Africa and North Carolina.



RTI Phield Trip

The Annual RTI International Phield Trip was held on Thursday, March 2nd 9:30-1pm in-person at RTI’s campus. Open to students, staff, and faculty, the event allowed participants to learn about projects happening at RTI, tour the facilities, and enjoy a networking lunch with RTI staff. It was an informative event for all. Read more about the event here.





Health Policy and Management Capstone Class

The Health Policy and Management Capstone Class allows students to engage with RTI’s Health Advance unit on a public health research innovation and commercialization project. The project supports RTI-HA’s initiative to advise private sector healthcare clients. In conducting market research and determining the feasibility and potential benefit of producing a digital scorecard for evaluating mental health apps, the capstone team helps RTI to determine if entering the digital scorecard market would be economically beneficial to their organization.  The six students involved include Kate Leo, Emily Bradfield, Kelly He, Jack Felkner, David Klein, and Akshay Sambandham. 

Adjunct Faculty

Andrews, Elizabeth BEpidemiologyAdjunct Associate Professor
Biemer, Paul PMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Professor
Casanueva, Cecilia EugeniaMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Assistant Professor
Caspar, Rachel AHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Assistant Professor
Dickinson, Denise MHealth BehaviorAdjunct Instructor
Flax, Valerie LynnNutritionAdjunct Assistant Professor
Gabel, TimothyPH Leadership ProgramAdjunct Professor
Graham, Phillip WMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Professor
Helwig, AmyHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Professor
Holden, Emery WayneHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Professor
Kahwati, Leila CFamily MedicineAdjunct Associate Professor
Layton, James BradleyEpidemiologyAdjunct Assistant Professor
Lewis, Megan AHealth BehaviorAdjunct Assistant Professor
MacDonald, Pia DEpidemiologyAdjunct Associate Professor
McClure, Elizabeth MaryMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Associate Professor
McCormack, Lauren AnnHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Associate Professor
McLeod, Lori DavisHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Associate Professor
Olich, Jacqueline MariePH Leadership ProgramAdjunct Associate Professor
Rouse, DorisMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Professor
Southwell, Brian GHealth BehaviorAdjunct Associate Professor
Strazza, KarenHealth BehaviorAdjunct Instructor
Van Vliet, Gretchen LynnPH Leadership ProgramAdjunct Assistant Professor
Viswanathan, MeeraPH Leadership ProgramAdjunct Assistant Professor
Wechsberg, Wendee MMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Professor
Williams, AaronHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Professor
Are you interested in exploring ways to become involved with the IMPACT Partnership?
Contact Anne Glauber (aglauber@unc.edu) or Katie Bowler Young (kbyoung@rti.org).