Dr. Carolyn Parks is Associate Professor of Instruction in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. For over 30 years, she has been a practicing community health education specialist with a passion for helping individuals, groups and communities to identify and solve their own health problems. Her community research and practice has focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of community-based and grassroots health promotion and disease prevention strategies for African-Americans, disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, and other groups of color on a broad range of health and disparities issues in various settings. Her specific areas of expertise include: health promotion through African-American churches; community assets mapping; community-based public health research and practice; empowerment education; exploring the health impacts of the "strong Black woman" phenomenon; the development of culturally relevant health education materials, programs, and research instruments; barriers to health communication and health care services provision for groups of color and low socioeconomic populations; and HIV/AIDS interventions for women.
For over 20 years, Dr. Parks held university level teaching positions in health education and public health, including: Graduate Teaching and Research Associate at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville; Assistant Professor of Health Education and Graduate Program Coordinator at Cleveland State University; Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education in the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Associate Professor of Public Health at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven; and Adjunct Professor at Beulah Heights University in Atlanta. In recent years, she also taught online courses for Walden University and Cleveland State University.
Prior to joining Temple, Dr. Parks worked for 10 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta as a Behavioral Scientist in the Capacity Building Branch of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. In this role, she worked with the HIV prevention workforce to ensure it had the knowledge, skills, and technology to effectively and efficiently conduct evidence-based HIV prevention interventions in the United States. Specifically, she served as the overseer and technical monitor for three female-focused HIV prevention evidenced-based interventions aimed at reducing HIV transmission: WILLOW – a community-based program for women living with HIV and AIDS; Sister to Sister – a clinic-based program for young African-American women at high risk for HIV; and Healthy Love – a community-based HIV risk reduction program for African-American women. In 2012, Dr. Parks expanded her HIV work internationally through travel to Nairobi, Kenya, where she worked for four months with CDC-Kenya staff on the adaptation and packaging of U.S.-developed HIV prevention interventions for various Kenyan audiences. In 2013, she led a five-member team to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to conduct trainings and provide technical assistance on CDC's WILLOW intervention for a group of indigenous Tanzanian women of faith and community practitioners.