New Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Bentley-Edwards

kbentley_160x192Keisha Bentley-Edwards, PhD, joined our division in July. She works at the DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity while also conducting research and assisting in the Duke Center for Community and Population Health Improvement. To get to know Dr. Bentley-Edwards a little more, we asked her the following questions:

Where do you work?
My office is located in the Erwin Building at the Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity.

What is your title?
Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine & Director of the Health Equity Working Group S.D. Cook Center on Social Equity

What are your interests are in the field?
In general, I do health disparities research. As a Psychologist, I examine how optimal and suboptimal contexts can influence emotional, social and physical functioning. Specifically, I seek ways to cultivate healthy outcomes in the face of racism and community stressors for African American youth and their families. I create culturally cognizant assessments that facilitate evidence based research and interventions.

Can you tell us a little more about your research?
I am currently developing projects that examine the relationships between religion and cardiovascular disease risk factors. My ongoing work examines the effect of racism stress on day-to-day youth functioning in schools, communities and with their peers.


Dr. Bentley-Edwards enjoying an adventure with her husband, Malik Edwards

Hobbies or interests:
I love to travel to different countries and try, as much as possible, to fit in to everyday life.

Any trips you’ve taken recently that you would like to share:
My last big trip was a tour of South East Asia for my honeymoon. My husband, Malik, and I traveled to China (Hong Kong), Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. Since we were halfway there, we also visited a good friend in Australia. Of course the structured tours were great, but roaming about in metropolitan areas one day, and rural areas the next were just as fun.

What brought you to Duke?
I was told that the S.D. Cook Center for Social Equity and the Duke Center for Community and Population Health Improvement were forming a partnership to find a GIM faculty member that could do translational research – particularly around race and health disparities. I jumped on the opportunity to be in an environment that appreciated applied research.  I was also enthusiastic about this position that also brought me to my husband, who is a Law Professor at North Carolina Central University.

Any recent books you’ve read you’d like to share?
In my free time, I love reading fiction as an escape from the heavy topics I research and lecture about. I dedicated this summer to re-reading books that I love, like Alice Walker’s Color Purple Collection, and Octavia Butler’s Seed to Harvest Series.

Fun fact about yourself
I grew up in Southern California, but completed all of my higher education on the East Coast – Howard University (BS), Columbia University (MA) and the University of Pennsylvania (PhD).

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