A piece of advice that Dr. Wright would give to a young professional entering the field:
Take risks. Growth and elevation lie on the other side of risk and adversity. Expect uncertainty and adversity. I would tell my younger self to expect and welcome uncertainty and not be so set on planning out my whole life. Plan in seasons, but be flexible.
LaNita S. Wright is a passionate, dedicated public health servant who finds joy in playing an active role in the development of young people through research, teaching, training, and mentoring. She has recently transitioned to a new role as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, Public Health Education program at Kennesaw State University. Her research is community-centered, and systems-oriented. She is passionate about teen pregnancy prevention through positive youth development, with previous community partnerships with predominately Black churches and local nonprofits. She has conducted several research studies, published manuscripts, and facilitated workshops pertaining to the Black Church’s role in preventing teen pregnancy. She also facilitated a community engagement effort (in partnership with a local non-profit) pertaining to the local community’s perceptions of sexual health related topics and their efforts as a non-profit. Moreover, she was an active member of a multi-disciplinary research team who facilitated a qualitative evaluation of a local healthy living program sponsored by an endowment fund. Overall, she is most interested in how interconnected systems influence health-promoting behaviors.
When not working, LaNita enjoys walking outdoors, reading (especially work that illuminates Black authors/communities and financial literacy), listening to podcasts, and playing with her 98 pound Doberman Pinscher.
A quote Dr. Wright lives by:
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou
Editorial Board Member at Health Promotion Practice Journal
As a member of the HPP board, LaNita appreciates the opportunity to work alongside others to promote diversity among the board, reviewers, and type of work published. She values the platform that board membership provides to be able promote research and practice implications in a meaningful way for both research and lay audiences.
Wright, L.S., Maness, S., Branscum, P., Larson, D., Taylor, E.L., Mayeux, L., Cheney, M.K. (2019,
March). Pastors’ perceptions of the Black Church’s role in teen pregnancy prevention. Health Promotion Practice. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524839919834269
Wright, L.S., Branscum, P., Maness, S., Larson, D., Taylor, E.L., Mayeux, L., Cheney, M.K. (2019, February). Parents’ beliefs of the Black Church’s role in teen pregnancy prevention. Journal of Adolescence. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2019.02.004
Harris, L.W., Maness, S., Branscum, P., Taylor, E.L., Larson, D., Mayeux, L., Cheney, M.K. (2017, August). The role of the Black Church in adolescent sexuality education. University of Oklahoma Library System Dissertation Archives (embargo for three years).
Harris, L.W., & Cheney. M.K. (2015, March) Positive youth development interventions impacting the sexual health of young minority adolescents: A systematic review. Journal of Early Adolescence. doi: 10.1177/0272431615578693
Cheney, M.K., Harris, L.W., Gowin, M. J., & Huber, J. (2014, May). Smoking and membership in a fraternity or sorority: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of American College Health, 62(4), 264-276. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2014.891595
Fink, K., Wright, L.S., Cowan, J.S., Pfeffer, J., Spells, C., Bruns, M., & Goree, B. (2019, May). TSET Healthy Living Program evaluation of technical assistance, trainings, and products: Qualitative structured interview findings. Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. Oklahoma City, OK.
Wright, L.S. & Fore, S. (2019, June). Community assessment 2018-2019: Final report. Thrive: Sexual Health Collective for Youth. Oklahoma City, OK.
National Oral Presentations:
Ramirez-Valles, J., Roe, K., Merzel, C., Early, J., Valerio, M., Brittain, D. & Wright, L.S. (2020,
March). Demystifying publishing in SOPHE peer reviewed journals. 71st Annual Meeting for the Society for Public Health Education, Atlanta, GA.
Wright, L.S. & Roe, K. (2020, March). Black women as change agents: Insights for research and practice from the African American community. 71st Annual Meeting for the Society for Public Health Education, Atlanta, GA.
Wright, L.S. & Vega, A. (2019, October). The Black Church: How to partner. 40th Annual National Conference of the Healthy Teen Network, New Orleans, LA.
Harris, L.W., Maness, S., Branscum, Larson, D., P., Taylor, E.L., Mayeux, L., Cheney, M.K. (2018, April). Parents’ perceptions of the role of the Black Church in preventing teen pregnancy. 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for Public Health Education, Columbus, OH.
Arterburn, J., Reece, T., Burgan, A., Harris, L.W. (2018, September). Teaching about the birds and the bees: The development of a student-faculty sexual health research team. 3rd Annual International Gender & Sexuality Studies Conference, Oklahoma City, OK.
Blethen, C. & Harris, L.W. (2016, September). Teen pregnancy: Exploring the dissonance between orientation and sexual behavior among lesbian and bisexual female adolescents. 1st International Gender & Sexuality Studies Conference, Edmond, OK.
Harris, L.W. & Cheney, M.K. (2015, October). African American pastors' perceptions of the role of the church in adolescent sexuality education. 143rd Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, Chicago, IL.
Harris, L.W. (2015, October). African American pastors' perceptions of sex ed in the church. 36th Annual National Conference of the Healthy Teen Network, Baltimore, MD.
Harris, L.W. (2018, October). Parents' perceptions of the role of the Black Church in preventing teen pregnancy. 39th Annual National Conference of the Healthy Teen Network, San Diego, CA.
Cowan J. S., Harris, L.W. & Lecona, P. (2017, March). Raising community voices to create programs that soar. 68th Annual Meeting of the Society for Public Health Education, Denver, CO.