Dr. Watkins is a tenure-track assistant professor and provisionally licensed outpatient therapist. She earned her BA in Sociology, Masters in Social Work (MSW), and PhD in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Watkins joined North Carolina Central University faculty in 2018 while serving as a school social worker and completing her dissertation focused on promotive parenting factors for academic resilience among socioeconomically marginalized Black children.
Dr. Watkins’ current research focus is to understand mechanisms through which institutional racism impacts the wellbeing of Black Americans, with particular attention to the effects of racial and socioeconomic inequities on the physical and mental health of Black women. Following her own diagnosis, Dr. Watkins aimed to examine racial disparities in maternal morbidity with particular attention to pregnancy-related cardiovascular disease and the socioemotional effects on Black women and parent-child relationships. As a BIRCWH Scholar, Dr. Watkins will identify how the experience of severe maternal morbidity influences the perceived stress, mental health, and parenting behaviors of Black women and how perceived social support may buffer these potential psychosocial effects.