Dr. Carter’s research focuses on racial health disparities and investigates how psychosocial and contextual stressors can affect both mental and physical health outcomes for underrepresented populations. She has had a long-standing interest in the ways that health disparities in African American populations arise and are maintained by psychological, physiological, and contextual processes. A common theme throughout much of her work has been examining how, across a life course, racial discrimination as an acute and chronic stressor can effect development and further exacerbate chronic illnesses and stress-related disorders.
Dr. Carter integrates clinical, physiological, and biobehavioral measurements in her research to aid in improved identification of mechanisms that can be targeted in prevention and/or treatment efforts to reduce racial health disparities. Her research program also examines how racial and cultural characteristics (e.g., racial identity, Africentric worldview, racial composition of communities, and place-based factors) influence health. This work utilizes a risk and resilience framework to further illuminate what may buffer the psychological and physical health impacts of racial discrimination. Her research in the area of risk and resilience aims to enhance our ability to tackle troubling health disparities in underserved and underrepresented communities.