Kathryn Whetten has served as the Research Director of the Hart Fellows Program since 2001. Professor Whetten is a Professor of Public Policy and Community and Family Medicine; and Director of the Center for Health Policy. They are also Director of the Health Inequities Program, and a Senior Research Fellow in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.
Whetten’s research examines the health behaviors and outcomes of disadvantaged communities and individuals. They seek to understand the interrelationships among individual and community psychosocial dynamics, health behaviors, health, provider characteristics and public policies. Whetten views these relationships as multidirectional. They examine and clarify underlying group characteristics that can be addressing to improve individual and community well-being. Whetten is one of a small group of researchers examining adult health outcomes as they relate to a life-course of events and influences starting with childhood experiences within families and communities and continuing through present-day conditions that may be manipulated through intervention. All of Whetten’s research is grounded in the idea that public policies can make a difference in people’s lives. Whetten has led 18 federally funded research grants and is the author of 3 books and over 60 peer reviewed articles.
Currently, Whetten and their intervention, service and research team have research projects that address issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, mental health, substance abuse, being orphaned or abandoned, social justice, and poverty in the US Deep South and in less wealthy nations. They and their team work with colleagues in: the US Deep South; Tanzania; Kenya; Ethiopia; Cameroon; Malawi; India; Cambodia; and Russia conducting research and interventions.
Whetten received their doctorate in health policy research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.