CHHS Names New Chair of Department of Public Health Sciences

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The UNC Charlotte College of Health and Human Services has selected Dr. Lyndie Forthofer as the new chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences.

A veteran public health researcher, Forthofer most recently served as Director of the Division of Epidemiology at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.  Over a ten-year career at USC, Forthofer also directed an interdisciplinary research unit, the Institute for Families in Society, and was a co-Investigator in USC’s CDC-funded Prevention Research Center.

Forthofer’s research track record includes approximately $29 million in funding from state health departments, local and national nonprofit organizations, several federal agencies and private sector organizations.

UNC Charlotte’s role as a dynamic urban research university helped draw Forthofer to seek the position.

“Strategic leadership, nearly unprecedented growth, and linkages with the surrounding community are all assets that set UNC Charlotte apart from many peer institutions,” she said. “The Department of Public Health Sciences has built strong programs which are poised for expansion and tremendous impact on the public health work force of Charlotte and the surrounding region.”

CHHS Dean Nancy Fey-Yensan said Forthofer’s background and experience align well with college priorities.

“Dr. Forthofer brings to the position of chair a unique and essential portfolio of experience and training that meshes extremely well with the aspirations of the Department and the ethos of the College of Health and Human Services.”

Forthofer has also been recognized for her work in the classroom. While on faculty at the University of South Florida from 1996-2005, she was twice selected for the Outstanding Teacher Award by the Public Health Student Association. Over her career, she has mentored over 30 graduate students on master’s thesis and doctoral dissertations.

“I believe that quality teaching is a cornerstone of any academic institution,” she said. “My experiences as a teacher, both in terms of formal classroom teaching and mentoring of graduate students, have been among the very most satisfying aspects of my career.”

Dean Fey-Yensan said Forthofer’s diversity of talent is a welcome addition to the college.

“Lyndie has demonstrated extraordinary capacity and innovation in research as well as in the teaching realm - a rare combination that fits our fundamental mission in educating the next generation of public health providers as well as the rapidly expanding scholarly productivity of our faculty and students.”

Forthofer’s current research focuses on the role of social networks in promoting healthy behaviors and how social factors buffer the health risks of chronic adversities. Her career has centered on collaboration between health and human services practice areas. 

“All of my academic training and professional work experience has been in interdisciplinary settings, so the close ties between social work, nursing and public health sciences at UNC Charlotte are part of what attracted me to this opportunity,” she said.

Forthofer said her first priorities will be focused on supporting faculty and assuring that growth in the department continues to align with programmatic goals. 

Dr. Lyndie Forthofer received a dual Ph.D. in Health Behavior/Health Education and Family Sociology from the University of Michigan and an undergraduate degree from Case Western Reserve University.

She will begin her tenure as chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences in August.