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Cheryl Woods Giscombe, Ph.D., R.N., PMHNP-BC - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Cheryl Woods Giscombe, Ph.D., R.N., PMHNP-BC Cheryl Woods Giscombe, Ph.D., R.N., PMHNP-BC

Melissa and Harry Levine Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion, School of Nursing | UNC-Chapel Hill


Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness





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Take the Time.: Cheryl Woods Giscombé at TEDxNCSSM




Cheryl L. Woods Giscombé, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC is the Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness. Her program of research focuses on understanding and reducing stress-related health disparities among African Americans. Her research incorporates sociohistorical and biopsychosocial perspectives to investigate how stress and coping strategies contribute to stress-related psychological and physical health outcomes. Dr. Giscombé has a particular interest in the potential for integrative approaches to reduce mental health-related disparities among African Americans.

Dr. Giscombé is dually trained in nursing and psychology. She completed a BA in psychology from North Carolina Central University and a BSN from Stony Brook University in New York. She earned MA and PhD degrees in social and health psychology from Stony Brook University and a MSN from the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner/clinical nurse specialist program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Giscombé completed certification in holistic health from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in Manhattan, New York. In addition, she completed postdoctoral training at UNC Chapel Hill (Interventions to Prevent and Manage Chronic Illness funded by NIH/NINR and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Minority Fellowship Program in collaboration with the American Nurses Association). In 2007 Dr. Giscombé was selected as a “Leader in the Field” by the American Psychological Association when she was awarded the Carolyn Payton Early Career Award.

Dr. Giscombé is particularly grateful for her immediate family (husband, Kessonga and two daughters, Zuri and Zola) her extended family, friends, and mentors who support and inspire her both professionally and personally.

Industry Expertise (7)

Health and Wellness Health Care - Providers Health Care - Services Education/Learning Public Policy Medical/Dental Practice Research

Areas of Expertise (5)

Social Health Psychology Nutrition Mental Health Holistic Health

Accomplishments (1)

Brilliant New Investigator Award (professional)


Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science

Education (5)

Stony Brook University: Ph.D., Social and Health Psychology

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: M.S.N., Nursing

Stony Brook University: M.A., Social and Health Psychology

Stony Brook University: B.S.N., Nursing

North Carolina Central University: B.A., Psychology

Affiliations (2)

  • American Psychological Association
  • American Nurses Association

Media Appearances (2)

The 'Strong Black Superwoman' Syndrome

Education Week  online


Research by Angela Black, Cheryl Woods-Giscombe, and Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant have researched the link between embodied racial and gender oppression and the SBW script and decrease self-care and negative long-term health consequences...

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Faculty Engaged Scholar Cheryl Giscombe is dedicated to serving

UNC News  


Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Dr. Cheryl Giscombe, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, is undertaking research to combat inequities in the healthcare system.

“I am motivated by my desire to contribute to the elimination of health and healthcare disparities,” Giscombe said.

“My goal is to be an ambassador for mental health so that all people have access to high quality mental health.”

Giscombe’s current research, which ranges from an emphasis on the Superwoman Schema to community-based research on substance abuse relapse prevention, aims to fight the siloing of biological, mental and emotional aspects of health. Giscombe’s research has proven that the intersectionality between these three factors are important. Her findings from the Superwoman Schema, which studies stress and obesity in African-American women, have been cited on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Fact Sheet on Stress and Health Disparities.

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Articles (5)

Applying the Stress and 'Strength' Hypothesis to Black women's breast cancer screening delays Stress and Health


Associations between stress and breast cancer highlight stressful life events as barriers to breast cancer screening, increased stress due to a breast cancer scare or diagnosis, or the immunosuppressive properties of stress as a risk factor for breast cancer ...

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Mind-Body Interventions to Reduce Risk for Health Disparities Related to Stress and Strength Among African American Women Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine


In the current article, the authors examine the potential role of mind-body interventions for preventing or reducing health disparities in a specific group—African American women. The authors first discuss how health disparities affect this group, including empirical evidence regarding the influence of biopsychosocial processes (e.g., psychological stress and social context) on disparate health outcomes...

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Superwoman schema: African American women's views on stress, strength, and health Qualitative Health Research


Researchers have suggested that health disparities in African American women, including adverse birth outcomes, lupus, obesity, and untreated depression, can be explained by stress and coping. The Strong Black Woman/Superwoman role has been ...

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The impact of miscarriage and parity on patterns of maternal distress in pregnancy Research in Nursing and Health


The purpose of the current study was to examine patterns of state anxiety and pregnancy-specific distress across pregnancy in a diverse sample of women with (n = 113) and without (n = 250) prior miscarriage. For both groups, state anxiety and pregnancy-specific distress were highest in the first trimester and decreased significantly over the course of pregnancy. Compared to women without prior miscarriage, women with prior miscarriage experienced greater state anxiety in the second and third trimesters. Having a living child did not buffer state anxiety in women with a prior miscarriage...

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Race and gender matter: A multidimensional approach to conceptualizing and measuring stress in African American women Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology


Based on prior research and theory, the authors constructed a multidimensional model of stress in African American women comprised of race-related, gender-related, and generic stress. Exposure to and appraisal of these three types of stress were combined ...

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