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Olivia Denise Carter-Pokras Ph.D.


  1. Ph.D. Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, 1994
  2. Dissertation: “Detection of heavy alcohol drinking: evaluation and application of biochemical tests”
  3. M.H.S. Biostatistics, The Johns Hopkins University,Maryland, 1982
  4. B.S. Biology, Tulane University,Louisiana, 1979


A health disparities researcher for three decades, Dr. Olivia Carter-Pokras has been recognized by the Governor of Maryland, Surgeon General, Assistant Secretary for Health, and Latino Caucus of the American Public Health Association for her career achievements to improve racial / ethnic data, develop health policy to address health disparities, and improve health care quality for Latinos. Dr. Carter-Pokras recently served as the PI for a PCORI engagement contract “The Patient Voice in Cultural Diversity Training for Patient Centered Outcomes Researchers,” and a School Health Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Evaluation Project for the state of Maryland. She also serves as Co-Investigator for the University of Maryland’s PATIENTS program which supports patient centered outcomes research at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Carter-Pokras has led NIH funded research projects to develop cultural competency and health literacy curricula and served as Co-Investigator for a European Commission funded project to develop cultural diversity training for health professional educators. A long-time member of Montgomery County’s Latino Health Steering Committee, Dr. Carter-Pokras conducts health assessments and program evaluation for Latinos in close partnership with local government and community based organizations. Dr. Carter-Pokras has published 71 peer-reviewed journal articles (cited over 4,750 times), and her research has played a critical role in national recognition of health disparities experienced by Latinos.

She is an elected fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and chaired the American College of Epidemiology’s Policy Committee. Dr. Carter-Pokras has served on the boards of the American College of Epidemiology and the American Public Health Association, and was a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education Committee, and the population research workgroup that contributed to the National Pain Strategy. She has a particular interest in translation of epidemiologic research into policy and practice to improve Latino population health. Dr. Carter-Pokras lectures on chronic disease epidemiology, epidemiologic methods, cultural competency and health disparities to public health students and health professionals.