Cheryl Giscombe, PhD, MSN, RN

Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness; Distinguished Term Associate Professor; PMHNP Lead Faculty, MSN Division; & Assistant Dean, MSN Division
Psychiatric/Mental Health


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460

Office: 1300

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.

2015 Stony Brook University “40 Under 40” Distinguished Alumni Award (Decision Pending)
2015 UNC School of Nursing Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentorship (Nominee)
2014 Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Program (UNC Chapel Hill; 2014-2016)
2014 TEDx NCSSM (North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics), Invited Speaker
2013 Appointee, American Psychological Association Working Group on Stress and Health Disparities
2012 Brilliant New Investigator Award, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
2012 North Carolina Central University “40 Under 40” Distinguished Alumni Award
2012 Scholar, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nurse Faculty Scholars Program
2011 “Halo Award,” Honored for Establishing Mental Health Services at Healing with CAARE, Inc.
2010 Invited Affiliate, African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN)
2008 UNC at Chapel Hill Graduate and Professional Student Federation Travel Award
2007 Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Awardee National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH/NICMHD, 2007-2009)
2007 American Psychological Association “Leader In the Field” – Carolyn Payton Early Career Award
2007 Nurse Educators of Tomorrow Scholarship Recipient, College Foundation of NC (2007-2009)
2005 Award for Excellence in Research, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University
2005 American Psychological Association Research Award in Health Psychology (Division 38)
2004 W. Burghardt Turner Summer Doctoral Research Award
2003 W. Burghardt Turner Summer Doctoral Research Award
2001 Nurses Educational Funds, M. Elizabeth Carnegie Scholarship for Doctoral Study
2000 Robert Harvey Award for Excellence, School of Nursing, SUNY Stony Brook
1998 W. Burghardt Turner Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, SUNY Stony Brook (1998-2005)

*Denotes faculty member’s student or post-doctoral trainee who worked on manuscript/project while at UNC.
Denotes products of engaged scholarship.

Book and Chapters, including pages:

  • Black, B. P., Knobel, R., & Woods-Giscombe, C. (2013). The science of nursing and evidence-based practice.  In Professional Nursing:  Concepts and Challenges. Black, B. P. (Ed.). pp. 220-238.  New York, NY:  Elsevier.

Refereed Papers/Articles (published or in press)

  • Woods-Giscombe, C. L., Rowsey, P. J., Kneipp, S. M., Owens, C. , *Sheffield, K. M., Galbraith, K. V., Hammad, S., Fowler, T., Hodges, E. A., Kowlowitz, V., & Alexander, G. R. (2015). Underrepresented students’ perspectives on institutional climate during application and admission to nursing school: Implications for enhancing diversity and inclusion.  Journal of Nursing Education, 54, 261-9.
  • *Sheffield, K. M., Giscombe, C. (2015). Efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of perinatal yoga on women’s mental health and well-Being: A systematic literature review. Journal of Holistic Nursing. DOI: 10.1177/0898010115577976.   NOTE: K. Sheffield is Woods-Giscombe’s doctoral student and mentee.
  • *DeGuzman, E., Woods-Giscombe, C. L., Beeber, L. S. (2015). Barriers and facilitators of Hispanic older adult mental health service utilization in the United States. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 36, 11-20. NOTE: first author was Woods-Giscombe’s MSN student and mentee).
  • Woods-Giscombé, C. L., & Gaylord, S. A. (2014). The Cultural Relevance of Mindfulness Meditation as a Health Intervention for African Americans:  Implications for Reducing Stress-Related Health Disparities. Journal of Holistic Nursing. 32, 147-160.
  • *Hagen, S., Woods-Giscombe, C. L., Beeber, L.S., *Chung, J. (2014). The Potential Benefits of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Interventions on Adolescent Inpatient Units for Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder Traits:  Implications for Psychiatric Nurses. Nursing & Health, 2(5), 89-99.  NOTE: first and last authors are Woods-Giscombe’s graduate students/ advisees).
  • Kneipp, S. M., Rowsey, P. J., Giscombé, C., Hodges, E., Fowler, T., Alexander, R. (2014). Countering the Influence of Cultural Hegemony on Choosing a Nursing Career: A Group Mentoring Approach for Student Recruitment. Journal of Nursing Education. DOI:10.3928/01484834-20140408-02.
  • *Reeves, E. A. & Woods-Giscombé, C. L. (2014). Examining social, cultural, and personal factors that affect infant feeding practices among low-income African-American women. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. DOI: 10.1177/1043659614526244. NOTE: first author was Woods-Giscombe’s Honors student and mentee).
  • Rowsey, P. J., Kneipp, S., & Woods-Giscombe, C. L. (2013). Careers beyond the bedside: One approach to developing the ethnic minority nursing faculty pool. Journal of Nursing Education, 52, 1-4.
  • Halstead, J. Billings, D., Boller, D. M., Cowling, W. R., Giscombe, C. W. Johnson-Mallard, V., Morin, K. H., Patterson, B. J., Sharts-Hopko, N. C. Howell-Adams, M., & Shellenbarger, T. (2013). Doctoral preparation for the educator role (Brief Report of the National League for Nursing Think Tank on Doctoral Preparation for the Educator Role).  Nursing Education Perspectives, 34, 281.
  • Barksdale, D.J., Giscombe, C.W, Logan, J.G. (2013). Stress, cortisol, and night-time blood pressure dipping in non-hypertensive Black American women. Biological Research for Nursing, 15, 330-337.
  • Black, A. R. & Woods-Giscombé, C. L. (2012) Applying the Stress and “Strength” Hypothesis to Black women’s breast cancers delays. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 28, 389-396.
  • Woods-Giscombé, C. L., & Black, A. R. (2010). Mind-body interventions to reduce risk for health disparities related to stress and “strength” among African American women:  The potential of mindfulness-based stress reduction, loving kindness, and the NTU therapeutic framework. Complementary Health Practice Review, 15, 15-31.
  • Woods-Giscombé, C. L., Lobel, M., & Crandell, J.L. (2010). The impact of miscarriage and parity on patterns of maternal distress in pregnancy. Research in Nursing & Health, 33, 316-328.
  • Woods-Giscombé, C.L.  (2010). Superwoman Schema: African American women’s views on stress, strength, and health. Qualitative Health Research, 20, 668-683.
  • Woods-Giscombé, C. L., & Lobel, M.  (2008). Race and gender matter: A multidimensional approach to conceptualizing and measuring stress in African American women.  Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 14, 173-182.
  • Giscombé, C. L., & Lobel, M. (2005).  Explaining disproportionately high rates of adverse birth outcomes among African Americans: The impact of stress, racism, and related factors in pregnancy.  Psychological Bulletin, 131, 662-683.

Published abstracts

  • Nuru-Jeter, A., Chae, D.H., David H., Price, M., Telesford, J., Mendoza-Denton, R., & Woods-Giscombé, C. (2013).  Anticipatory racism threat and Superwoman Schema: Elucidating the relationship between racial discrimination and chronic inflammation [Abstract]. Circulation, 2013-SS-A09550-AHA.
  • Woods-Giscombé, C. L., Lobel, M., & Zimmer, C.  (2012, April). Obesity in African American women: Using structural equation modeling to examine the contribution of multidimensionally-defined stress, superwoman schema – emotional suppression, and the use of food to cope [Abstract].  Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 43, S50-S50.
  • Black, A. R., & Woods-Giscombé, C. L. (2012, February). The relevance of extraordinary caregiving, stress, emotional suppression, and self-care postponement to late-stage breast cancer diagnoses among Black women [Abstract]. Psych-oncology, 21, S23-24.
  • Black, A. R., & Woods-Giscombé, C. L. (2010). Last on the list: Manifestations of “strength” as barriers to self-care among African American women [Abstract]. Journal of Women’s Health, 19, 1781.
  • Woods-Giscombé, C. L. (2008, February).  Superwoman Schema:  An asset or a vulnerability to health in African American women? [Abstract]. Southern Online Journal of Nursing Research, 8 (4)). Available online at:
  • Barksdale, D.J., Giscombè, C. & Logan, J. (2008, February). Stress, John Henryism and Cortisol Responses in Black Women. Invited special plenary session presented at the 22nd Southern Nursing Research Society Research Conference: Health Disparities Evidence into Action. (Selected as an Abstract of Excellence) Birmingham, Alabama. [Abstract]. Southern Online Journal of Nursing Research, 8 (4). Available online at:
  • Giscombé, C. W. & Lobel, M. (2007, February).  Stress, coping and health in African American Women:  Developing a model to examine the intersection of race, gender, and ‘generic’ stress.  [Abstract]. Southern Online Journal of Nursing Research, 8 (2).Available online at: articles2/Vol08Num02F_G.html#Giscombe

In Press/Submitted (refereed)

  • Woods-Giscombé, C. L., Lobel, M., Zimmer, C., Cene, C. W., & Corbie-Smith, G. (In Press). Whose stress is making me Sick?  Network-stress and emotional distress in African American women. Issues in Mental Health Nursing.
  • *Mitchell, S., Kneipp, S., Giscombe, C. (In Press). Smoking in poor rural women:  A systematic review of the literature. Public Health Nursing.
  • Diggins, A., & Woods-Giscombe, C. L. (In Press). The association of perceived stress, contextualized stress, and emotional eating with body mass index in college-aged Black women. Eating Behaviors.
  • Woods-Giscombe, C. L., Gaylord, S. A., Li, Y., Bangdiwala, S., Buse, J. B., Mann, J. D. …Faurot, K. (Under Review). Mindfulness-based diabetes education for African Americans with prediabetes: A pilot, sequential mixed-methods, two-arm, randomized clinical trial. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine.
  • Banks, J., Dixon, M., & Giscombe, C. (Under Review). Impact of strong Black woman conceptualization on self-care and physical activity decision-making. Psychology of Women Quarterly.
  • Hodges, E. A., Johnson Rowsey, P., Fowler, T., Kneipp, S., Giscombe, C., Foster, B., Alexander, R., & Kowlowitz, V. (Under Review). Bridging the Gender Divide: Smoothing the Educational Path for Men in Nursing. Journal of Nursing Education.

Products of interdisciplinary scholarship 

  • Giscombe, C. L., Gaylord, S. A., Skelly, A., Faurot, K., Lynch, C., Leniek, K., Smith, S., Mann, J., Young, L. A., Buse, J.  A mindfulness-based intervention to reduce diabetes risk in pre-diabetic African-Americans: Mindfulness-Based Diabetes Risk Reduction and Conventional Diabetes Risk Reduction Curricula. (Unpublished intervention protocol, referenced in Woods-Giscombe et al., Under Review).

Products of engaged scholarship

  • Elliott-Bynum, S., & Woods-Giscombé, C. L. (2014, January).  Invited Speaker. Engaging in Community-Academic Partnerships to Improve Mental Health in Diverse and Underserved Populations: A Model of CAARE.”  Program on Ethnicity, Culture and Health Outcomes (ECHO). School of Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.
  • Woods-Giscombe, C. L, & Bynum, S. (2015, August). Academic-community partnerships to positively impact health disparities and overall population healthImplications for leadership in community healthcare. Invited presentation sponsored by the Health Sector Management and Healthcare Club of the Duke University Fuqua School of Business. Durham, NC.
  • Woods-Giscombe, C. L., Steed, T. S., Nuru-Jeter, A., & Black, A. R. Superwoman Schema Scale. Unpublished Instrument.

Digital and other novel forms of scholarship

Role Title Total Direct Amount Percent Effort Agency Dates
Woods-Giscombe (Faculty Partner) Research Engaged Comm. Scholars Mentored Cohort (Primary Awardee:  Elliott-Bynum, S.) $500 0% North Carolina Translational and Clinical Science Institute 11/01/2011-10/31/2012
Woods-Giscombe (PI) A mindfulness-based intervention to reduce diabetes risk in pre- diabetic African-Americans (Multiple PI with Gaylord, S.) $400,000 21% National Institutes of Health/National Center on Complementary and Alternative MedicineGrant # 1R21AT004276-01A2 7/1/2009-6/30/2013
Woods-Giscombe (Co-Investigator) A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study to test a Novel Intervention to Reduce Oxidative in African-Americans with Pre-diabetes (Co-PIs: Smith, S. & Gaylord, S.) $10,000 0% NC TraCS InstituteGrant # 10KR101107 7/1/2011-6/30/2012
Woods-Giscombe (Investigator) Gendered Racism, Social Class, and the Health of African American Women (PI: Nuru-Jeter, A.)  $16,500 0% University of California Center for New Racial Studies 7/1/2011-6/30/2012;
Woods-Giscombe (Co –Investigator) Premature Physiologic Aging Among AA Women: A study on race and racism (PI: Nuru-Jeter, A.)  $20,000 0% University of California – Berkeley Population Center 7/1/2011-6/30/2012
 Woods-Giscombe (Co-Investigator) The African American Women’s Heart & Health (PI: Nuru-Jeter, A.) $20,000 0% University of California – Berkeley Research Bridging Grant 7/1/2011-6/30/2012
Woods-Giscombe (PI) An investigation of the acceptability and cultural relevance of meditation as a health intervention for African Americans (Co-PI: Gaylord, S.)  $2,000 0% NC TraCS Institute 2/1/2009-1/31/2010
Woods-Giscombe (PI) NIH Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program Grant – Stress-related health disparities in African American women N/A N/A NIH/NIMHD 2007-2009
Woods-Giscombe (PI) Superwoman Schema Emotional Suppression in African American Women (Center Grant Director: Miles, M.) $10,000 0% UNC School of Nursing Center for Innovation in Health Disparities ResearchGrant # P20 NR8360 7/1/2006-6/30/2008
Woods-Giscombe (PI) African American Women’s Well-being Study $1,500 0% American Psychological Association Division 38 3/1/2005
Woods-Giscombe, C. (PI) African American Women’s Well-being Study $1,500 0% W.B. Burghardt Dissertation Fellowship; Stony Brook University, 07/01/04 -06/30/05
Woods-Giscombe, C. (Project Director) Josiah Macy Faculty Scholars Program – Project:  The Development of the Interprofessional Leadership Institute for Mental Health Equity $188,574 50% Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation 09/2015 – 08/2017
Woods-Giscombe, C. (Co-PI) Successful Recovery with AfterCAARE: A Pilot Study to Examine Implementation of the SAMHSA CPR Interventions (PI: Elliot-Bynum, S.) $5,000 0% UNC Chapel Hill Center for Health Equity 11/2014 -10/2015
Woods-Giscombe (Consultant) Psychosocial Factors and Lupus Disease Progression among African American Women (PI: Chae, D.) NA 0% National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin DiseasesGrant # 1R01AR065493-01 5/2014 -4/2019
Woods-Giscombe (PI/Engaged Scholar) Community Engaged Scholarship to Utilize Holistic Nursing Interventions and Promote Mental and Physical Well Being and Health Equity at a Nurse Managed Community Health Center in Durham, NC (CAARE, Inc.) $10,000  0% Carolina Center for Public Service, UNC Chapel Hill  7/1/2014-6/30/2016
Woods-Giscombe (Co-PI) Successful Recovery with AfterCAARE: A Pilot Study to Examine Implementation of the SAMHSA CPR Intervention (Elliott-Bynum, Corbie-Smith: Co-PIs) $2,000 0% NC TraCS Institute 1/2014-12/2014
Woods-Giscombe (PI/Project Director) Stress, Superwoman Schema, and Obesity Risk in African American Women: Developing a Culturally-Relevant Intervention to Reduce Health Disparities. $350,000 60% Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars Program 9/2012-8/2015