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
- Seminar in Health Services Research
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)
* indicates co-author was a student when research was conducted
† indicates co-author was a community partner when research was conducted
Forthofer, M., Dowda, M., O’Neill, J., Macdonald, S., Reid, L. & Pate, R. Effect of Child Sex and Psychosocial Factors on Changes in Children’s Physical Activity from 5th to 6th Grade. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2017, 14(12): 953-958. https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2016-0487
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. 2016 Nov;30(8):634-637. doi:4278/ajhp.140307-ARB-99.
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 Oct; 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. 2016 Mar;20(3):720-9. doi: 10.1007/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.
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.
Lau, E.Y.*, Barr-Anderson, D.J., Dowda, M., Forthofer, M., Saunders, R.P., & Pate, R.R. Associations between home environment and after-school physical activity and sedentary time among 6th grade children. Pediatric Exercise Science. 2015, 27(2): 226-233. doi: 10.1123/pes.2014-0061.
Sharpe, P.A., Flint, S., Burroughs-Girardi, E.L., Pekuri, L.†, Wilcox, S., & Forthofer, M. Building capacity in disadvantaged communities: Development of the Community Advocacy and Leadership Program. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research Education and Action. 2015 Spring;9(1):113-27. doi: 10.1353/cpr.2015.0003.
Wilcox, S., Forthofer, M., Sharpe, P.A., Hutto, B. Characteristics of Walking Group Leaders as Compared to Walking Group Members in a Community-Based Study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2015, 12: S26-S30. Doi: 1123/jpah.2014-0149.