Tracy R. Nichols, Ph.D.

Promoting Health, Engaging Communities, Changing Lives

Tracy R. Nichols, Ph.D.



Department of Public Health Education

School of Health and Human Sciences

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

P.O. Box 26170

Greensboro, NC 27402-6170

(336) 256-8504 (office)

Office Location: 437 Mary Channing Coleman (HHP) Building

LinkedIn Profile


Education and Training

I received my undergraduate degree from the New School for Social Research, followed by a master’s degree in general psychology from Hunter College In 2002, I received my doctorate in developmental psychology from Columbia University where I studied under Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, a renowned expert in girls’ development and pubertal timing. For 17 years, I worked closely with Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, a leading authority in school-based drug prevention strategies, at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. I played a critical role in the development and evaluation of his state-of-the-art adolescent drug and violence prevention program, entitled Life Skills Training.

Curriculum Vitae


Research Interests

I am interested in maternal-child health issues generally with a more specific interest in reproductive justice and marginalized motherhoods. Most recently I have examined issues of service provision and reproductive health programming for teenage mothers and for mothers in recovery from substance use. I apply an intersectional and critical lens to my work. While I have a strong history conducting studies that employ quantitative methodologies, the majority of my current research questions are best answered with a qualitative approach. Most recently I have been exploring arts-based methodologies, especially the use of research poetics, both as a means of analysis and dissemination. I believe the power of narrative and poetics are critical tools when advocating for reproductive justice and marginalized mothers.


Current Studies

Providing Services to Mothers in Recovery for Substance Use Addictions. This study examines the provision of social and healthcare services to pregnant women recovering from substance use addictions. Five years of interview and observational data were collected to understand challenges in providing coordinated care to this population. The study also tracked North Carolina’s response to the increase in opiate use during pregnancy, specifically how information on best practices was disseminated to local service providers. A critical feminist/intersectional lens applied to this study highlights the role of stigma, bias, and advocacy for maternal versus fetal/infant rights and welfare.

Developing Reproductive Health Programming for Substance Use Recovery. In collaboration with the YWCA of Greensboro, a reproductive health program that consists of preconception/interconception health classes and specialized childbirth education and doula-match services was developed for people in treatment for substance use disorders. A process evaluation study was conducted to track program development, identify challenges, and examine stakeholder perceptions of program relevance. The program, funded by the March of Dimes, was designed to reduce adverse birth outcomes associated with prenatal substance use.

Supporting Teen Moms: A Qualitative Evaluation of a Childbirth Education and Doula Program for Pregnant Adolescents. The YWCA of Greensboro established a comprehensive program to support pregnant and parenting teen moms as they strive to finish school, raise healthy children, and set and fulfill goals for the future. Childbirth classes are provided through the Teens Learning Childbirth (TLC) program, where teens attend with their own support person or are provided a mentor. Doula services are also offered to all teens and teen mothers can continue to receive support and mentorship through the Teen Parent Mentoring Program (TPMP) after they give birth. The primary purpose of this study was to understand the experiences and perceptions of the stakeholders (pregnant teens and volunteers) in order to improve services and increase program utilization. The secondary purpose of the study was to understand the context in which both teen moms and volunteers participate in educational and support programs.


Courses Taught

  •             HEA 333 Health of Women
  •             HEA 662 Gender and Health
  •             HEA 753 Qualitative Methods in Public Health Education
  •             HEA 758 Advanced Theoretical Basis in Community Health Education

Links of Interest

NC Docks

YWCA of Greensboro