Dr. Carolyn M. Tucker


Contact Information

Email: cmtucker@ufl.edu
Phone: 352-273-2167
Office: 253 Psychology Building

Mailing address:
Department of Psychology
University of Florida
P.O. Box 112250
Gainesville, FL 32611-2250


Carolyn M. Tucker, PhD received her clinical psychology doctorate degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her pre-doctoral internship occurred at the University of Florida (UF). Currently, she is the UF Florida Blue Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research. She is also a Distinguished Alumni Professor, Professor of Psychology, Professor of Community Health and Family Medicine, and Research Foundation Professor at UF. Additionally, she is the Director of the UF Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program, the Co-Director of the Multidisciplinary Academic-Community Obesity Disparities Research Partnership, which includes over 90 diverse members across Florida, and the Chair of the Research Sub-Group for the Florida Community Health Workers Coalition.

Dr. Tucker has over 40 years of experience in conducting community-engaged and patient-centered research that aims to promote heath and culturally sensitive health care, particularly in racial/ethnic minority, low-income, and medically underserved communities. Her widely used and published Health Self-Empowerment Theory and Patient-Centered Culturally Sensitive Health Care Model inform her research and research across the nation. She is widely known as the founder of the culturally sensitive, evidence-based, and theory-driven Health-Smart Behavior Program™ to Prevent and Reduce Obesity and Related Diseases (called Health-Smart™). Dr. Tucker’s published Motivators of and Barriers to Health-Smart Behaviors Inventory™ and Health-Smart™ are landmark health promotion tools being used internationally.

Dr. Tucker uses an academic-community partnership research approach and the community-based participatory research model. Her current research involves (a) developing and testing interventions to prevent and reduce obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer in at-risk communities, and (b) empirically examining the links between patient-centered, culturally sensitive health care and health outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities and the medically underserved. Dr. Tucker has over 140 published, refereed, research articles and three health care quality inventories (e.g., the Tucker Patient-Centered Culturally Sensitive Health Care Inventory).

Under her mentorship, over 54 doctoral students have received their PhD degrees and 50 graduate students have received their Master’s degrees, with over 45% of these students being a racial/ethnic minority. She also has mentored five post-doctoral fellows, 80% of whom are racial/ethnic minorities, and numerous culturally diverse beginning faculty.

Dr. Tucker’s passion is facilitating health promotion and health care “with an ear for the beat of different hearts”, including in poor Black communities like the one in which she was raised.


Among Dr. Tucker’s numerous honors, she is the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Service Award from the U.S. HHS Advisory Committee on Minority Health, the 2012 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman National Mentoring Award, and the 2016 Society for Counseling Psychology Prevention Section American Psychological Association Lifetime Achievement Award.


“With an ear for the beat of different hearts”


To read about Dr. Tucker’s mentoring style, please click here.

For information on the UF Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program, click here.

For Dr. Tucker’s curriculum vitae, click here.