Carolyn M. Tucker, Ph.D.

Carolyn M. Tucker, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

2008 Awardee

When it comes to health care, Carolyn Tucker follows her heart and remembers her roots.

Tucker, who came from humble beginnings and once struggled with obesity, is the organizer of the Patient-Centered Culturally Sensitive Health Care and Promotion project. The project seeks to bridge the gap that separates minorities and low-income communities from adequate health care via “development and delivery of effective health products, such as informational DVDs, to these communities,” according to psychology department Chair Neil E. Rowland.

Tucker’s Family Health Self-Empowerment Project, which is funded by PepsiCo, aims to combat obesity and obesity-related issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and their effects on minorities and low-income families. Tucker’s “enormous success during the past decade has been in large part because of her contributions to culturally sensitive health delivery, recognized by NIH as well as by several private foundations,” Rowland said.

Tucker’s work straddles the psychology department and the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine, both of which claim Tucker as a researcher. She’s also one of 10 Distinguished Alumni Professors at UF.

Tucker doesn’t stop at health care for minorities. Her research team, including eight graduate students and 55 undergraduates, are themselves culturally diverse, and thus receptive to the need of culturally diverse patients. Under Tucker’s tutelage, these students collect national data and study local populations to better understand the health care needs of minorities. In this way, students have benefited from Tucker’s leadership for more than 30 years.

Tucker now serves on the Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Minority Health, where she contributes to policies that, like her research, help minorities and low-income families receive more personalized health care. She is also a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a member of the 2008 Expert Panel for the YMCA of the USA Diversity Health and Wellness Collaborative.