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PHS Division Directory 

Doug Easterling , Ph.D.

Easterling, Doug

Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy
Division of Public Health Sciences
Wake Forest University Health Sciences

Administrative Contact: Jeannie Pfeiffer
Room Number: 4125
Medical Center Blvd.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1063

Telephone: 336-716-9213
Email: dveaster@wfubmc.edu

B.A., Carleton College, 1978 (Psychology and Mathematics).
M.A., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1983 (Quantitative Psychology).
Ph.D., Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1993 (Public Policy and Management).

Doug Easterling has worked in a number of roles (academic researcher, evaluator, funder, consultant, facilitator) to advance the theory and practice of community-based health promotion. Under the community- based paradigm, those individuals whose health is to be improved are directly engaged in the process of defining the problem and developing the solutions. Outside experts and funders play a supportive role in moving coalitions and community-based organizations toward “effective” strategies, but do not dictate specific interventions.

Doug’s research has focused on the various steps that successful community groups take in order to improve local health (e.g., assuming responsibility, establishing a shared sense of purpose, building trust, exploring the issue from multiple perspectives, identifying strategic leverage points, taking account of best and promising practices, creating strategies that fit the local environment, taking risks). He is also interested in understanding the process through which organizations and communities build their capacity (e.g., leadership, collective efficacy, social capital), as well as in developing strategies that funders, researchers and consultants can employ to facilitate community problem solving and capacity building.

As the Director of Research and Evaluation at The Colorado Trust (1992-1999), Doug managed the process through which the foundation’s community-based initiatives were evaluated. The outcomes and lessons from those initiatives are described in Promoting Health at the Community Level (Sage Publications, 2003), which he co-edited. Since returning to academia in 1999, he has evaluated foundation-sponsored initiatives designed to promote community-based problem solving, social capital, and improved race relations. Through workshops, presentations, papers and consultation, he has helped a number of foundations develop their strategies for evaluation, environmental scanning, and organizational learning. Along with Ross Conner, he co-teaches the evaluation module for the Health Forum’s Fellowship programs.

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