Fellow in Focus is a series offering a quick look into the lives of our Injury and Violence Prevention Fellows. Tune in each month to meet a new fellow!


Name:  Venita Embry
Pronouns: She/her
Department: Health Behavior
Hometown: Birmingham, AL

How’d you get into injury and violence prevention work?

There hasn’t been a true linear path.  It’s been a mix of interest in substance use prevention and criminal justice work.  I’ve worked at RTI International for the past 6 years and became interested in this massively public health issue (violence) that’s largely been looked at from a criminology and public safety perspective.  I wanted to learn more and chose to focus my doctoral training on becoming a violence researcher.

Tell us what projects you’re working on currently. And what makes them exciting to you?

  1. Wise Guys Next Level/Guys Relate Evaluation (at UNC): My first project working in the area of sexual violence. It has been a great experience of working with program implementers and revising a curriculum.  Working on this project has really shaped what types of violence-related work I would like to do in the future.
  2. At RTI, I have worked on a variety of behavioral health projects; each of which has given me a new tool for my toolkit.  Currently, I am the epi task leader for a SAMHSA grant through the DC Department of Behavioral Health, an analyst for a project to reduce discipline disparities for African-American males in Charlotte-Mecklenburg School, and recently received internal funding to develop manuscripts related to the UNC-funded DV Courts study.  All of these projects give new perspectives on how to help people maximize their health and wellbeing

Where were you before you started your program at UNC?

I’ve worked at RTI International for the past 6 years in their Center for Courts and Corrections. Before that, I received my MPH from Emory University.

What’s something you spend your time doing outside of work and school? 

Cooking and watching lots of tv.

What’s your favorite 90’s movie? 

Scream. I love all things horror, but this is my most favorite movie of all time. I’ve watched it no less than 200 times, including during many finals week.