School of Health and Human Sciences

Many researchers and practitioners across UNCG are engaged in work around women’s health and wellness. We highlight this work to help people both internal and external to UNCG connect with those with shared interests and complimentary expertise.

For UNCG Scholars and Practitioners: If you are doing work related to women’s health and wellness and would like to have your information listed, please submit your information in this form.

Fluid Intake Behaviors Across the Menstrual Cycle in Naturally Cycling Females

Principle Investigators – William Adams, PhD, ATC & Laurie Wideman PhD

The goal of this project is to: 1) determine fluid intake behaviors across the menstrual cycle, 2) investigate how sex hormones alter urinary and blood hydration biomarkers and 3) assess the relationship between daily fluid intake on mood and cognition throughout the menstrual cycle. The impact of sex hormones on fluid intake behaviors can be used to inform the development of targeted hydration strategies in females specific to the physiologic changes occurring throughout the menstrual cycle.

To Learn More, follow Dr. Adams on Twitter.

Pregnancy Complications and Postpartum Health

Principal Investigator – Forgive Avorgbedor PhD, RN

My research revolves around pregnancy health, postpartum health, biobehavioral and bio-psycho-social approaches to research and lifestyle, behavioral interventions. My goal is to improve health quality for women at greater risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) by designing and implementing interventions to prevent CVD among women diagnosed with hypertension during pregnancy while addressing the health disparities associated with pregnancy and postpartum adverse outcomes.

Interdisciplinary Research on Early Predictors of psychological and physical health

Principal Investigator – Jessica Dollar PhD with Project Leads: Laurie Wideman PhD and Susan Keane PhD

Taking a biopsychosocial approach to development, my research examines the role of early emotional and self-regulatory (physiological, emotional, attentional, cognitive) development, within the social context, on psychological and physical health outcomes for girls from childhood through adolescence.

Learn more on the Right Track.

The Female BRAIN Project

Principle Investigator – Donna Duffy PhD

Most of what we know about sports related head injuries comes from research on male athletes and these findings are applied to female athletes. However, research suggests that sports related head trauma is experienced differently among the sexes. The Female Behavior and Recovery After Injury and Neurotrauma (BRAIN) Project aims to highlight the risk factors and recovery variables exclusive to female athletes.

Learn more with the Program for the Advancement of Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity.

Effect of Life Course Adversity on the Stress Response during Pregnancy

Principal Investigator – Crystal Epstein PhD, PMHNP

Women’s exposure to social adversity over the life course is associated with altered physiologic set points within stress regulatory systems (e.g. autonomic and endocrine systems). Such physiologic alterations render some women more vulnerable to adverse mental, physical and reproductive health trajectories. Circadian heart rate parameters are an emerging pre-morbid biomarker of sympathovagal balance of the autonomic stress response, but few studies have studied this in the context of pregnancy.

Celebrate the Trail to Recovery: A hiking program for those affected by cancer

Principle Investigator – Justin Harmon, PhD

This twice-weekly, year-round hiking program takes those affected by cancer on hikes on the trail system of Greensboro and greater Guilford County. The program is open to those who have or had cancer, as well as their caregivers. It is predominantly women who participate. Benefits from participation include physical exercise, socialization and support, and immersion in natural environments.

Learn more on Celebrate the Trail to Recovery.

Exercise, Health Education and Resource Support for those with Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue

Principle Investigator – William B. Karper EdD (program director)

A program for women that examines the effects of exercise on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndromes. Also, provides health education and resource for those with these conditions.

To contact William B. Karper, email:

iGrow (Infant Growth and Development) Study

Principal Investigator – Esther Leerkes PhD

iGrow is an NIH-funded study following 300 expectant mothers from the prenatal period until their children are two in an effort to identify predictors of childhood obesity. We intend also to address a number of issues related to women’s health. For instance, we will examine predictors of: maternal depression, anxiety, role strain and sleep quality; gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention, pregnancy and birth complications, and long-term cardiovascular health.

Learn more at iGrow and Tipping the Scales.

Energy Balance and Lifestyle Factors Associated with Obesity and Cancer Risk

Principal Investigator – Jessica McNeil PhD

I have an interest in women’s health; having thus far focused on changes in appetite and components of the energy balance across the menstrual cycle and during the menopausal transition. I also have an interest in assessing the long-term effects of diet and/or exercise manipulations on components of the energy balance and risk of weight gain (or weight regain) in women.

Human Milk Composition as A Bridge Between Maternal and Infant Nutrition

Principle Investigator – Maryanne Perrin PhD, MB., RDN

Human milk provides a bridge between maternal nutrition and immunity, and infant health outcomes. Many preterm infants rely on human milk from an anonymous milk bank donors when their mother’s own milk is not available. My research explores the experiences of milk bank donors, the composition of donated milk, and how milk banking practices influence milk composition to improve nutritional interventions for preterm infants.

Learn more on my Twitter.

Eating Behaviors, Diet and Body Esteem among Girls and Young Women

Principal Investigator – Lenka Shriver PhD

My research examines food- and weight-related influences on weight status and body esteem among children and adolescents, especially among girls who suffer from higher rates of disordered eating behaviors and poor negative body image compared to boys. My work also examines dietary intake and disordered eating behaviors among female college athletes.

Risk and Prevention of Knee Injuries in Women

Principle Investigators – Sandra J. Shultz, PhD, ATC; Randy J. Schmitz, PhD, ATC

Adolescent and young adult females are at a 2-4 fold greater risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury of the knee compared to similarly trained males. The goal of our research is to understand the underlying factors that increase a female’s susceptibility for both primary and secondary knee injuries, how those risk factors develop and change during growth and development, and to develop effective interventions to mitigate that risk.

Learn more at the ANRL lab.

NC LGBTQ Domestic Violence Research Initiative

Project Leads – Paige Hall Smith PhD & Stacy Sechrist, PhD

This project advances the capacity of communities and campuses to provide safe, equitable and quality services to LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence. Partners include domestic violence and LGBTQ programs in Asheville, the Outer Banks, Greensboro and Durham. Funding provided by the NC Governor’s Crime Commission for 10/1/2017– 9/30-2022, and alumni.

Learn more about the NC LGBTQ Domestic Violence Response Initiative.

Voice 4 Reproductive Justice

Project Leads – Amanda Tanner PhD, MPH and Christina Yongue MPH, MCHES

“Voices for Reproductive Justice“ is a university-community partnership sponsored symposium, and highlights the application of a social justice and health equity approach to reproductive health. Historically, reproductive health advocates have applied a narrower, rights-based framework that focuses on bodily autonomy and has privileged the voices of white, middle-class women.

Learn more with She Can, We Can.