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Olivia  D. Carter-Pokras

Olivia D. Carter-Pokras Ph.D.

Academic Title: Associate Professor
Primary Appointment: University of Maryland College Park
Secondary Appointments: Epidemiology & Public Health
Additional Title(s): Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
Location: School of Public Health Building, 2234G
Phone: (301) 405-8037
Fax: (301) 314-9366

Personal History:

A health disparities researcher for 3 decades, Dr. Olivia Carter-Pokras has been recognized by the Governor of Maryland, Surgeon General, Assistant Secretary for Health, and Latino Caucus of the American Public Health Association for her career achievements to improve racial/ethnic data, develop health policy to address health disparities, and improve health care quality for Latinos. 

Dr. Carter-Pokras is the PI for a PCORI engagement contract "The Patient Voice in Cultural Diversity Training for Patient Centered Outcomes Researcher" and Co-Investigator for the University of Maryladn's PATIENTS program which supports patient centered outcomes research at the University of Maryland. Dr. Carter-Pokras has led NIH funded research projects to develop cultural competency and health literacy curricula, and served as Co-Investigator for a European Commission funded project to develop cultural diversity training for health professional educators. A long-time member of Montgomery County's Latino Health Steering Committee, Dr. Carter-Pokras conducts health assessments and program evaluation for Latinos in close partnership with local government and community based organizations.

She currently serves as PI for a School Health Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Evaluation Project for the state of Maryland. Dr. Carter-Pokras has published 67 peer-reviewed journal articles (cited over 3600 times), and her research has played a critical role in national recognition of health disparities experienced by Latinos. She is an elected fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and a member of the American Public Health Association's Science Board, and served on the Institute of Medicine's Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education Committee. She has chaired the American College of Epidemiology's Policy Committee, and has a particular interest in translation of epidemiologic research into policy and practice to improve Latino population health. Dr. Carter-Pokras lectures on chronic disease epidemiology, epidemiologic methods, cultural competency and health disparities to public health students and health professionals.

Research Interests:

Cultural Competency, Health Disparities, Latino Health, Patient Centered Outcomes Research, Community Based Participatory Research, Translation of Epidemiologic Research into Policy and Practice, Chronic Disease

Grants and Contracts::

PCORI Engagement Contract T&D #3477:
The Patient Voice in Cultural Diversity Training for Patient Centered Outcomes Researchers. $250,000. 8/1/2016-7/31/2017 (Pending Contract Negotiation). Role: Principal Investigator.

Maryland DHMH:
School Health Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Evaluation Project (MOU). $150,000. 2/2016-6/30/2018. Role: Principal Investigator.

University of Maryland Patient-centered Involvement in Evaluating the effectiveness of Treatments (PATIENTS). (PI: Mullins)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 9/30/13 - 9/29/18. Role: Co-Investigator.


Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications (out of 67):

A more complete list of Dr. Carter-Pokras's publications can be found on

  1. Von Korff M, Scher A, Helmick C, Carter-Pokras O, Dodick D, Goulet J, Hamill-Ruth R,  LeResche L, Massey M, Porter L, Tait R, Terman G, Veasley C, Mackey S.  United States National Pain Strategy for Population Research: Concepts, Definitions and Pilot Data. Journal of Pain (In Press)
  2. Jaschek G, Carter-Pokras O, He X, Lee S, Canino G. Association of Child Maltreatment and Depressive Symptoms among Puerto Rican Youth. Child Abuse and Neglect (In Press).
  3. *Kanamori M, Carter-Pokras O, Madhavan S, Lee S, He X, Feldman R. Overweight status of the primary caregivers of orphan and vulnerable children in 3 Southern African countries: a cross sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:757. DOI. DOI 10.1186/s12889-015-2061-2
  4. *Kanamori M, Beck K, Carter-Pokras O. Understanding How Social Network and Mass Media Factors Can Influence Cigarette Smoking among Asthmatic Adolescents. Journal of School Health. Journal of School Health. 2015 Mar;85(3):155-62. doi: 10.1111/josh.12238.
  5. *Kanamori M, Carter-Pokras O, Madhavan S, Lee S, He X, Feldman R. Associations Between Orphan and Vulnerable Child Caregiving, Household Wealth Disparities, and Women's Overweight Status in Three Southern African Countries Participating in Demographic Health Surveys. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2015 Jan 29. [Epub ahead of print]
  6. Martinez-Garcia G, Carter-Pokras O, Atkinson N, Portnoy B, Lee S. Do Latino youth really want to get pregnant?: Assessing pregnancy wantedness among male and female Latino youth. American Journal of Sexuality Education. 2014;9(3):329-346.
  7. Goode TD, Carter-Pokras O, Horner-Johnson W, Yee S. Parallel tracks: reflections on the need for collaborative health disparities research on race/ethnicity and disability. Medical Care. 2014 Oct;52 Suppl 3:S3-8. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000201
  8. *Kanamori M, Carter-Pokras O, Madhavan S, Feldman R, He X, Lee S. Orphan/vulnerable child caregiving moderates the association between womenâ?Ts autonomy and their BMI in three African countries. AIDS Care. 2014;3:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]
  9. Wallen J, Randolph S, Carter-Pokras O, Feldman R, *Kanamori M. "Every year I say I'm going to stop:" Engaging African Americans in smoking cessation programs. American Journal of Health Education.  2014;45:151-157.
  10. Carvajal DN*, Ghazarian SR, Crowne SS, Brown PB**, Pokras OC, Duggan AK, Barnet B. Is Depression Associated with Contraceptive Motivations, Intentions, and Use Among a Sample of Low-Income Latinas. Womens Health Issues. 2014 January - February;24(1):e105-e113. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2013.10.003. PMID: 24439935.
  11. *Okafor MT, Carter-Pokras O, Zhan M. Greater Dietary Acculturation (Dietary Change) is associated with Poorer Current Self-rated Health among African Immigrant Adults. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 01/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jneb.2013.11.015