Color headshot photo of Olivia Carter-Pokras
Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
Other Affiliations: Center for Health Equity, UMD Prevention Research Center
Campus: UMD | Building: School of Public Health | Room: 2234G
Phone: (301) 405-8037 |
Cultural Competency in Healthcare
CV / Resume
File CV_Carter-Pokras.8.8.18.docx

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 4750 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.

Education and Training

1994               The Johns Hopkins University, Epidemiology                    Ph.D.

1982               The Johns Hopkins University, Biostatistics                     M.H.S.

1979                Tulane University, Biology                                              B.S.


EPIB330: The Coming Plague

EPIB 610: Foundations of Epidemiology

EPIB 620: Chronic Disease Epidemiology


Honors and Awards

2016                          Muriel R. Sloan Communitarian Award, University of Maryland School of Public Health

2014                           Pioneer in Pain Award for service on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education. Western Pain Society.

2013, 2014                  Merit Award, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Maryland School of Public Health

2013                            American Public Health Association award for service on the APHA Education Board 2010-2013

2013                           Jerry P. Wrenn Outstanding Service Award, University of Maryland School of Public Health

2008-2012                   Recognized at annual University-Wide Celebration of Scholarship and Research

2011                           American Public Health Association 2011 CoA Reception award for service on ACBI Advisory Committee

2011                           Faculty Inductee, University of Maryland School of Public Health Gamma Zeta Chapter of Delta Omega, the Honorary Society in Public Health

2010                           American Public Health Association award for leadership and service on the APHA Executive Board 2006-2010

2010                           Governor’s Hispanic Heritage Month Awardee:  Healthcare Champion

2006                           Latino Health Initiative, Montgomery County recognition plaque

2005                           Montgomery County Executive Certificate of Recognition & Appreciation


Dogra N, Carter-Pokras O. Chapter 31. Diversity in Medical Education. In: Understanding Medical Education (3rd edition). Association for the Study of Medical Education. Wiley-Blackwell. In Press.

Demarco M, Carter-Pokras O, Hyun N, Castle P, He X, Dallal C, Chen J, Gage G, Befano B, Fetterman, Lorey T, Poitras N, Raine-Bennett T, Wentzensen N, Schiffman M. Validation of an HPV DNA cervical screening test that provides expanded HPV typing. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 2018 Feb 28. pii: JCM.01910-17. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01910-17. [Epub ahead of print]

Allukian M Jr, Carter-Pokras OD, Gooch BF, Horowitz AM, Iida H, Jacob M, Kleinman DV^, Kumar J, Maas WR, Pollick H, Rozier RG.   Science, politics, and communication: The Case of Community Water Fluoridation in the US. Ann Epidemiol. 2017 May 29. pii: S1047-2797(16)30568-3. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2017.05.014. [Epub ahead of print]

Thiel de Bocanegra H^, Carter-Pokras O, Ingleby JD, Pottie K, Tchangalova N, Allen SI, Smith-Gagen J, Hidalgo B. Addressing refugee health through evidence-based policies: a case study. Ann Epidemiol. 2017 May 12. pii: S1047-2797(17)30074-1. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2017.05.010. [Epub ahead of print]

#Jaschek G^, Carter-Pokras ODHe XLee SCanino G. Association of Types of Life Events with Depressive Symptoms among Puerto Rican Youth. PLoS One. 2016 Oct 27;11(10):e0164852.

Von Korff M, Scher A, Helmick C, Carter-Pokras O, Dodick D, Goulet J, Hamill-Ruth R,  LeResche L, Porter L, Tait R, Terman G, Veasley C, Mackey S.  United States National Pain Strategy for Population Research: Concepts, Definitions and Pilot Data. J Pain. 2016 Oct;17(10):1068-80.

#Jaschek G^, Carter-Pokras O, He X, Lee S, Canino G. Association of child maltreatment and depressive symptoms among Puerto Rican youth. Child Abuse Negl. 2016 Aug;58:63-71.

*Kanamori M, Carter-Pokras O, Madhavan S, Lee S, He X, Feldman R. Overweight status of the primary caregivers of orphan and vulnerable children in 3 Southern African countries: a cross sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:757. DOI. DOI 10.1186/s12889-015-2061-2

*Kanamori M, Beck K, Carter-Pokras O. Understanding How Social Network and Mass Media Factors Can Influence Cigarette Smoking among Asthmatic Adolescents. Journal of School Health. Journal of School Health. 2015 Mar;85(3):155-62. doi: 10.1111/josh.12238.

*Kanamori M, Carter-Pokras O, Madhavan S, Lee S, He X, Feldman R. Associations Between Orphan and Vulnerable Child Caregiving, Household Wealth Disparities, and Women's Overweight Status in Three Southern African Countries Participating in Demographic Health Surveys. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2015 Jan 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Martinez-Garcia G, Carter-Pokras O, Atkinson N, Portnoy B, Lee S. Do Latino youth really want to get pregnant?: Assessing pregnancy wantedness among male and female Latino youth. American Journal of Sexuality Education. 2014;9(3):329-346.

Goode TD, Carter-Pokras O, Horner-Johnson W, Yee S. Parallel tracks: reflections on the need for collaborative health disparities research on race/ethnicity and disability. Medical Care. 2014 Oct;52 Suppl 3:S3-8. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000201

*Kanamori M, Carter-Pokras O, Madhavan S, Feldman R, He X, Lee S. Orphan/vulnerable child caregiving moderates the association between women’s autonomy and their BMI in three African countries. AIDS Care. 2014;3:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]

Wallen J, Randolph S, Carter-Pokras O, Feldman R, *Kanamori M. “Every year I say I’m going to stop:” Engaging African Americans in smoking cessation programs. American Journal of Health Education.  2014;45:151-157.

Carvajal DN*, Ghazarian SR, Crowne SS, Brown PB**, Pokras OC, Duggan AK, Barnet B. Is Depression Associated with Contraceptive Motivations, Intentions, and Use Among a Sample of Low-Income Latinas. Womens Health Issues. 2014 January - February;24(1):e105-e113. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2013.10.003. PMID: 24439935. ?<

*Okafor MT, Carter-Pokras O, Zhan M. Greater Dietary Acculturation (Dietary Change) is associated with Poorer Current Self-rated Health among African Immigrant Adults. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 01/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jneb.2013.11.015