Caryn Bell

Caryn Bell, PhD, is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a current New Connections grantee.



Assistant Professor
University of Maryland, College Park

Professional Bio

Dr. Caryn Bell is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed her doctoral studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2015. Her teaching and research interests examine the intersection of race, place, and health with a focus on racial residential segregation and institutional racism.

Project Description

Though poverty is often considered among urban minority or rural white populations, the health of the suburban poor is understudied. Poverty rates are growing fastest in suburban locations, and there are additional demographic changes with an increase in suburban African American populations.  The aim of this study is to examine the effects of the suburbanization of poverty on health and racial health disparities. Additionally, this study will examine the role of racial residential segregation in suburban contexts on the suburbanization of poverty and health.

Why did you apply to New Connections

I attended the 10th Annual New Connections Research and Coaching Clinic in 2016. I was encouraged and challenged by the diversity of scholars who were all committed to scholarship that points to a Culture of Health for all. After this, I explored the New Connections program and decided to apply.

Research Interests

Dr. Bell’s research interests examine the interrelationships between race, place, socioeconomic status (SES), and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. She examines race disparities in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and related behaviors and compare various race-SES groups, utilizing geographical information systems to examine the role of racial segregation in health-related resources across the SES spectrum. Dr. Bell also assesses the effects of racial differences in SES-related and social factors among middle- and upper-class African Americans and whites, examining how these differences affect various CVD-related outcomes.


Bell CN, Bowie JV, Thorpe, Jr. RJ. (2017). Race and “Hotspots” of Preventable Hospitalizations. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice (in press).

Hill SE, Bell CN, Bowie JV, Kelley E, Furr-Holden D, LaVeist TA, Thorpe, Jr. JR. (2016). Differences in obesity among men of diverse racial and ethnic background. American Journal of Men’s Health, 10(6), 526-32.

Thorpe, Jr. RJ, Fesahazion RG, Parker LJ, Rooks RN, Bowie JV, Bell CN, Szanton SL, LaVeist TA. (2016). Accelerated health declines among African Americans in the United States. Journal of Urban Health, 93(5), 808-819.

Porch TC, Bell CN, Bowie JV, Usher T, Kelley EA, LaVeist TA, Thorpe, Jr. RJ. (2015). The role of marital status in physical activity among African American and white men. American Journal of Men’s Health, 10(6), 526-532.

Wilson-Frederick SM, Thorpe, Jr. RJ, Bell CN, Bleich SN, Ford JG, LaVeist TA. (2014). Examination of race disparities in physical inactivity among adults of similar social context. Ethnicity & Disease, 24(3), 363-369.

Bleich SN, Jarlenski MP, Bell CN, LaVeist TA. (2012). Health inequalities: Trends, progress and policy. Annual Review of Public Health, 33, 7-40.

Bell CN, Bowie JV, Thorpe, Jr. RJ. (2010). The interrelationship between hypertension and blood pressure, attendance at religious services, and race/ethnicity. Journal of Religion and Health, 51(2), 310-322.

Bell CN, Thorpe, Jr. RJ, LaVeist TA. (2010). Race/ethnicity and hypertension: The role of social support. American Journal of Hypertension, 23(5), 534-540.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2018
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Creating Healthier, More Equitable Communities
  • Project Name: Examining the fast-growing rate of poverty and health inequity in the suburbs

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