Who We Are
Carolyn M. Tucker

Carolyn M. Tucker

Blue Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research, University of Florida

Dr. Carolyn M. Tucker is the UF Florida Blue Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research at the University of Florida. She also is a Distinguished Alumni Professor, a Research Professor in Psychology, and a Courtesy Professor in Community Health and Family Medicine. Additionally, she is the Director of the UF Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program, Director of the UF Health Cancer Center (UFHCC) Cancer Disparities Research Collaborative, and the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Liaison to Community Outreach and Engagement at the UFHCC. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Community Health Workers Coalition, Inc. and serves as the Co-Chair of its Research Subgroup.

Dr. Tucker is nationally and internationally known as the founder of the evidence-based Health-Smart Behavior Programâ„¢ to Prevent and Reduce Obesity and Related Diseases (called Health-Smart). The published child and adult versions of her Motivators of and Barriers to Health-Smart Behaviors Inventory, and Health-Smart are landmark health promotion and health equity tools.

Dr. Tucker engages in community-based participatory research (CBPR) that focuses on (a) culturally sensitive health promotion and health care to prevent and reduce obesity, hypertension, and obesity-related cancers; (b) the integration of health promotion into medicine; and (c) community and family health empowerment to reduce health disparities and promote health equity. Her widely used, published Health Self-Empowerment Theory and Patient-Centered Culturally Sensitive Healthcare Model inform her research. Her vision is to establish churches and community centers as health equity centers.

Her current grant-funded studies focus on (1) testing the impact of her Health-Smart Holistic Health Program on food insecurity, social isolation, health behaviors, and health outcomes of Black seniors with low-incomes, (2) examining the impact of perceived racism and other social determinants of health on utilization of traditional in-person healthcare and telehealth among Black seniors, (3) examining the impact of a physician-implemented, patient-centered, culturally sensitive weight loss maintenance program on weight loss maintenance by Black women patients with obesity, (4) testing the effectiveness of a mental health promotion intervention implemented by community members.

Dr. Tucker has over 140 published refereed articles and one published book. She has received over $17 million in research grants. She is the recipient of (a) the 2016 Health Promotion and Prevention Lifetime Achievement Award from Division 17 of the American Psychological Association, and (b) the 2020 Whitney M. Young Leadership Award from the Jacksonville Urban League for her culturally sensitive healthcare research. In 2021 she was inducted into the Florida Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. In 2022 she received the Excellence in Health Psychology Research Award from Division 38 of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Tucker received her PhD in clinical psychology from SUNY at Stony Brook.