School of Health and Human Sciences

Robert W. Strack

Robert W. Strack, Ph.D.
Professor, Department Chair
Office: 437 H Coleman Bldg.
Phone: 336-334-3239
Curriculum Vitae

Brief Bio

Personal Introduction

I am an avid cyclist (road and mountain bike), camper, nature lover and political junkie who enjoys spirited debate.  I have two daughters, Claire and Sage, whose growth inspire me daily and am married to a wonderful partner, JoAnn.


Professional Profile

Dr. Strack has been a part of the Department of Public Health Education faculty team at UNCG since the fall of 2001. While he is currently a UNCG Spartan, years ago Dr. Strack was also a Spartan at Michigan State University as an undergraduate student in Marketing. After working for several years Dr. Strack pursued and completed an MBA from Indiana University with the intention of securing a PhD in business.  In 1992 Dr. Strack started the Organizational Behavior doctoral program at the University of South Carolina only to find his true passion for health promotion, which prompted him to switch into the health education health promotion program in their School of Public Health. Dr. Strack has never looked back and recalls the words of a faculty member who stated, “We do good things in public health!” He was hooked and that drive to make a difference still burns strong.

It was during his doctoral education, completed in 1997, that he formed his interest in understanding the social issues influencing the health of adolescents. Under the guidance of Dr. Murray Vincent, Strack completed his dissertation, entitled ‘Development of a Context Evaluation Model: A Qualitative Assessment of a Community-Based Health Initiative,” where he researched a community’s response to a community-based intervention targeting adolescent pregnancy. Through reading, deep academic conversation and immersion in this community’s response to their adolescent pregnancy issue Strack developed an appreciation of the social ecological model’s contribution to our understanding and a personal conviction that social issues are more effectively impacted through a combination of policy, systems and individual-level change strategies.


Ph.D. in Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health University of South Carolina
MBA Masters of Business Administration from Indiana University
B.A. in Marketing from Michigan State University


Research Interests

My research has primarily focused on the health and social issues of youth and adolescents which specifically includes research interests in: Photovoice methodology, program planning and evaluation, adolescent programming and health promotion advocacy and policy. Recognizing that many favor Band-Aid solutions, my passion is to invite us all to look deeper to root cause challenges and to collectively seek answers and strategies.

Current Projects

My aim is to build on the science around photovoice and to provide tools that help communities address social issues from their own lens.  Over the past several years National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding has enabled our research team to construct an on-line resource we call PhotovoiceKit. PhotovoiceKit is a complete web-based toolkit combining photography, dialogue, digital media, public photo exhibits, and social action to address issues a community identifies and cares about. With the roll-out of our PhotovoiceKit tool we hope to be able to observe, hone and measures the utility of this applied research endeavor and witness positive changes in communities throughout society.

Picture Me Alcohol Free: Engaging Youth in Community-Based Prevention
This NIH-NIAAA (SBIR) research project proposes to test the feasibility of developing an online training program, Picture Me Alcohol Free (PMAF), intended to empower youth to become active participants in community-based efforts to reduce underage alcohol use and related consequences. The Picture Me Alcohol Free project is focused on using an existing ethnographic process (Photovoice) and instructional technology (online course) to develop a web-based strategy that can be used by schools, after-school programs and communities. Once fully developed the Picture Me Alcohol Free program will be used by youth with adult facilitators as a forum for raising community awareness and engaging policy makers on the topic of underage alcohol use. The ultimate goals of the PMAF project are to increase local efforts to: 1) reduce the availability of alcohol, 2) improve effectiveness of law enforcement, and 3) change social norms in communities regarding underage use.

Picture Me Fit (PMFit)
PMFit is a multi-component online resource designed to train community members, including youth to: a) represent environmental factors contributing to obesity in their communities by using a process known as photovoice and b) use photo projects to assess the physical environment of a community, raise community awareness, mobilize stakeholders, and inform environmental strategies and policy changes.  Both PMAF and PMFit form the basis of PhotovoiceKit which we hope to be 1) an easy to implement tool for assessing the qualitative aspects of a community environment and 2) a vehicle for communities to develop strategies for using that data to raise awareness, mobilize stakeholders, and inform environmental and public policy changes.

Selected Publications

Robert W. Strack, Robert Eric Aronson, Muhsin Michael Orsini, ChristopherM. Seitz, Regina McCoy, Using Photovoice to Uncover Campus Issues and Advocate
Change for Black Males, Journal of College Student Development, Volume 59, Number 4, July-August 2018, pp. 491-498 (Article) Published by Johns Hopkins University Press

Elise K. Eifert, Rebecca Adams, Sharon Morrison & Robert Strack (2016) Emerging Trends in Family Caregiving Using the Life Course Perspective: Preparing Health Educators for an Aging
Society, American Journal of Health Education, 47(3), 176-197, DOI:10.1080/19325037.2016.1158674

Strack, R.W., Orsini, M.M., Fearnow-Kenney, M.D., Herget, J., Milroy, J.J., Wyrick, D.L. (2015). Developing a web-based tool using information and communication technologies to
expand the reach and impact of Photovoice. American Journal of Health Education, 46(4), 192-195

Oluwatoyosi, A., Kimbrough, J., Obafemi, B., & Strack, R.W. (2014). Health literacy from the perspective of African Immigrant youth and elderly: A photovoice project. Journal of Health
Care for the Poor and Underserved, 25(4), 1730–1747

Seitz, C.M., Reese, R.F., Strack, R.W., Frantz, S., West, B., (2014). Identifying and improving green spaces on a college campus: A photovoice study. Ecopsychology, 6(2), 98-108. doi:

Xin, H., Aronson, R.E., Lovelace, K.A., Strack, R.W., & Villalba, J.A. (2013). Vietnamese Refugees’ Resilience: Resources for Coping with Natural Disasters in their Resettled Country.
Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. 7(4), 387-94. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2013.44

Strack RW, Lovelace K, Jordan TD, Holmes A, (2010) Framing Photovoice Using a Social–‐Ecological Logic Model as a Guide. Health Promotion Practice. 11 (5), 629–‐636.

Wyrick, D. L., Fearnow-Kenney, M., Wyrick, C. H., Orsini, M. M., Strack, R.W., & Milroy, J. J. (2010). Going the distance: Delivery of high school drug prevention via distance education. The
American Journal of Distance Education, 24(3), 151-162.