Carrie Leach

Carrie Leach

Research Assistant Professor, Institute of Gerontology; Associate Director for Community Inclusion, Center for Health Equity and Community Knowledge in Urban Populations (CHECK-UP); Community Engagement Program Manager, Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES)

Curriculum vitae


Social media



Public Health

Carrie Leach

Carrie Leach, Ph.D., M.P.A., is an assistant professor (research) at the Institute of Gerontology and a Leader of Community Engagement at the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) at Wayne State University. Dr. Leach has considerable experience in inter-disciplinary research in a variety of settings with expertise in health communication, environmental health literacy, and community-based and aging services delivery and communication. Her scholarly activity has focused on partnering with organizational leaders and community residents to evaluate and examine the needs of more than 5,500 older adults across Michigan to translate findings into actionable improvements in aging and community-based services practice and policy.

Over the past decade, Dr. Leach has been a leader in community engagement, currently with the Community Engagement Core (CEC) in the NIEHS P30 Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) at Wayne State University. She helped develop and maintain a Community Advisory Board (CAB) for the CEC and helps plan and carry out the community engagement strategy focused on education and advocacy. She led a systematic program assessment of CURES’ CEC activities.

Through her work with the CEC she developed a participatory process for the CAB and CURES researchers to co-construct community-engaged programs and multi-media informational materials that are matched to the needs and circumstances of Detroit residents. Over the past six years, those efforts resulted in disseminating health-protecting information to more than 5,000 Detroit residents through face-to-face interactions and thousands more through print and electronic communications.

Dr. Leach’s work in community engagement and environmental health communication strongly influenced expanding her research from interpersonal dynamics to embracing an ecological view. Her dissertation utilized a community-based, participatory research (CBPR) approach to understand and characterize the dynamics of a “communication ecology” in late old age and how those dynamics impede and enable the flow of information about aging services. Dr. Leach’s research resulted in a multi-level community action plan to help bridge the senior-service provider communication gap. She found that the participatory process was key for reaching vulnerable and hard-to-reach older adults who would most benefit from the needed community resources.

Carrie is driven by her commitment to reduce health and communication disparities by developing community-driven solutions that are co-developed with communities for their betterment. She has shown that active participation increases the public’s interest and capacity to engage with science, fosters connections and co-learning among researchers and Detroiters impacted by environmental health issues and helps research inform multi-level decision making.


  • Ph.D., Health Communication, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 2019
  • M.P.A., Master of Public Administration, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 2009
  • B.A., Communication, Madonna University, Livonia, MI, 2004
  • A.A., Liberal Arts, Schoolcraft College, Livonia, MI, 1997

News mentions