Skip to main content

Vanessa Volpe

Asst Professor

Department of Psychology

Poe Hall 703


Dr. Volpe is an applied health psychologist with a focus on the reduction of racial/ethnic health disparities by employing critical psychological and social justice lenses. Her research aims to explicate the processes by which and the contexts in which individuals resist and protect themselves against forms of individual-, cultural- and structural-level marginalization (e.g., racism, sexism, heterosexism), with specific attention to the preservation of health in Black and Latinx communities. She employs an eclectic set of methodologies to answer research questions about health and oppression, from laboratory-based physiological studies to community-engaged research, encompassing quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods analytic approaches. She aims to use critical strengths- and community-based contextual approaches to use the knowledge gleaned from research as the springboard for healing programming and policy.

Specific research areas: stress and coping, psychophysiology, cardiovascular health, health behaviors, health care, racism, online contexts and technology, strengths/protective factors.


Research Publications

Find a list of all her publications at: Be sure to sort by year to see the most recent work.

Representative publications:

Volpe, V. V., Hoggard, L. S., Willis, H. A., & Tynes, B. M. (2021). Anti-Black structural racism goes online: A conceptual model for racial health disparities research. Ethnicity & Disease, 31(Suppl 1), 311-318.

Volpe, V. V., Schorpp, K., Cacace, S., Benson, G. P., & Banos, N. C. (2021). State- and provider-level racism and health care in the United States. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Advance online publication.

Volpe, V. V., Willis, H. A., Joseph, P., & Tynes, B. M. (2020). Liberatory media literacy as protective against trauma for emerging adults of color. Journal of Traumatic Stress. Advance online publication.

Volpe, V. V., Katsiaficas, D., Benson, G. P., & Zelaya Rivera, S. (2020). A mixed-methods investigation of Black college-attending emerging adults’ experiences with multilevel racism. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Advance online publication.

Volpe, V. V., Dawson, D. N., Rahal, D., Wiley, K., & Vesslee, S. (2019). Bringing psychological science to bear on racial health disparities: The promise of centering Black health through a Critical Race framework. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 5, 302-314.

Volpe, V. V., Lee, D., Hoggard, L.S., & Rahal, D. (2019). Racial discrimination and acute physiological responses among Black young adults: The role of racial identity. Journal of Adolescent Health, 64, 179-185.


B.S. Applied Psychology New York University 2011

M.A. Psychology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2013

Ph.D. Developmental Psychology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2016