Dr. Melinda Forthofer is Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences in the College of Health and Human Services at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Prior to joining UNC Charlotte, Dr. Forthofer was on the faculty at the University of South Florida (1996-2006) and at the University of South Carolina (2006-2016). For over 20 years, her work has focused on social factors related to health behavior change in diverse community settings, often via community-based research. Much of her current research is focused on the role of social factors in the promotion of health behaviors, particularly the role of social networks in physical activity. Her research has been supported by over $29 million in extramurally funded research grants, via awards from several federal agencies (CDC, HRSA, NIH), state health departments, local and national nonprofit organizations, and several private sector organizations.
- Dual Ph.D – University of Michigan, 1996, Health Behavior/Health Education and Sociology
- Predoctoral Fellow, NIMH Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan
- Case Western Reserve University, 1992, Sociology and Gender Studies
- Special Topics: MPH Capstone Pilot Course
Research Interests/Areas of Expertise
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Networks
- Community-based prevention research
- Diffusion of innovation/translational science
- Chronic disease-related health behaviors, especially physical activity
Awards & Honors
- Delta Omega Honorary Society, Mu Chapter, University of South Carolina
- Outstanding Teacher Award, University of South Florida Public Health Student Association (1999-2000 and 2003-2004)
- Sumter County Active Lifestyles, Sumter County, SC
- Harmon, B., Forthofer, M., Bantum, E., Nigg, C. Perceived influence and college students’ diet and physical activity behaviors: An examination of ego-centric social networks. BMC Public health. 2016; 16: 473. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3166-y.
- Forthofer, M., Burroughs-Girardi, E., Stoisor-Olsson, L., Wilcox, S., Sharpe, P.A., Pekuri, L.M.† Use of formative research and social network theory to develop a group walking intervention: Sumter County on the Move! Evaluation and Program Planning. 2016; 58: 28-34. Doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2016.05.004.
- Forthofer, M., Dowda, M., McIver, K., Barr-Anderson, D.J., & Pate, R.R. Associations between Maternal Support and Physical Activity among 5th Grade Students. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2015 E-pub ahead of print. doi: 1007/s10995-015-1873-0.
- Schoffman, D.E.*, Kaczynski, A.T, Forthofer, M., Wilcox, S., Hutto, B., Child, S.T.*, Hughey, S.M.* Longitudinal associations with changes in outdoor recreation area use for physical activity during a community-based intervention. Prev Med.2015 Sep;78:29-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.06.005.
- Child, S.T.*, Schoffman, D.E.*, Kaczynski, A.T., Forthofer, M., Wilcox, S., and Baruth, M. Neighborhood Attributes Associated With the Social Environment. American Journal of Health Promotion. In-Press. doi:4278/ajhp.140307-ARB-99.
- Wilson, D.K., Van Horn, M.L., Siceloff, E.R.*, Alia, K.A.*, St. George, S.M.*, Lawman, H.G.*, Trumpeter, N.N.*, Coulon, S.M.*, Griffin, S.F., Wandersman, A., Egan, B., Colabianchi, N., Forthofer, M., & Gadson, B. † The results of the “Positive Action for Today’s Health” (PATH) randomized trial for increasing walking and physical activity in underserved African American communities. Ann Behav Med.2015 Jun;49(3):398-410. doi: 10.1007/s12160-014-9664-1.