The Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Transportation, recently awarded continuing funding to Mary Wolfe, doctoral candidate in the Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wolfe works with Carolina Transportation Program Director Noreen McDonald, a CURS Faculty Fellow and professor and chair of DCRP.
In addition, Wolfe was named a James Lampley Graduate Fellow by the College of Arts and Sciences for the 2018-19 academic year to advance her scholarship and teaching.
Wolfe was recently profiled in a January 2018 article by DCRP Master’s student Katy Lang, reprinted below.
Mary is a PhD student in the Department of City & Regional Planning. She studies connections between transportation and health, with an emphasis on children’s mobility and health care access. Her dissertation research examines the potential of shared mobility to shift access to health care facilities for underserved populations.
Before UNC, Mary was a Fulbright Scholar at the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, where she examined the relationship between green space and health outcomes for people with chronic illness. She received her MSc in urban geography from Utrecht University and her BA in environmental studies from Temple University.
With funding from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program Graduate Fellowship last year, Mary continued her work on children’s mobility with Dr. Noreen McDonald to examine health implications of school commutes. They worked with researchers at UNC’s Institute for the Environment to develop and pilot a method for evaluating children’s air pollution exposure during trips to school. They compared exposure to pollution from high-volume roadways for children who attend schools in different air quality environments, and who attend this schools by various modes. Mary presented findings from this research at the International Conference on Transport and Health in Barcelona, the ACSP Conference in Denver, and most recently at the Transportation Research Board meeting in January 2018.
With sustained support of the Eisenhower Fellowship this year, Mary continues to study transportation and health. Her dissertation research focuses on transportation as a barrier to health care as well as innovative solutions to these barriers. She is examining the current state of disparities in transportation access to health care across the country, specifically for nonemergency medical care. She is cataloguing how features of shared mobility, such as partnerships with transportation network companies (i.e. Uber and Lyft), are being leveraged to address gaps and shortcomings in nonemergency medical transportation.