The Living Free Lab Team

Rachel W. Goode, PhD, MPH, LCSW

Assistant Professor
Lab Director and Principal Investigator, Living F.R.E.E. Lab

Dr. Goode is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill). She received her PhD, MPH, and MSW from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to address racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in obesity and eating disorders. Her research has been funded by the NIH, National Eating Disorders Association, Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, Magee Womens Research Institute, and the University Research Council at UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently, Dr. Goode is the principal investigator of a pilot feasibility grant from the Nutrition and Obesity Research Center at UNC-Chapel Hill to reduce binge eating and prevent weight gain in African-American women with overweight and obesity. Additionally, Dr. Goode is a licensed clinical social worker, and has practice experience with the treatment of eating disorders and obesity among clients in university counseling centers, and community-based mental health agencies. She has been fortunate to be the recipient of various awards, including the Oprah Civic Leadership Award, National Health, Lung, Blood Institute (NIH) Research Service Award, and the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

The Lab Team

Alexandria Forte, MSW

Doctoral student

Alexandria Forte is a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the School of Social Work. Alexandria earned her Masters of Social Work from the University of Denver, where she graduated with the Dean Emil M. Sunley Award for Meritorious Service to the profession of social work.  Alexandria has spent many years working in the healthcare field, including work involving health advocacy, mental health, and research exploring health disparities for minority patients. While working as an emergency department social worker, Alexandria helped to implement a new program targeting social determinants of health and their impact on minority communities. This work helped to develop Alexandria’s research interests, which include: nutrition education promotion for minority communities, obesity prevention in youth, and positive youth development. 

Oona-Ifé Olaiya, BS

Graduate Research Assistant

Oona-Ifé Olaiya is a Master  of Social Work student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Olaiya received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her work experience includes project management and after-school program facilitation and development. Working as a research specialist for the past two years, she has worked on projects that focus on the intersections of environment, family structure, and race, and their relationship to early childhood school readiness. Throughout her education and career, Oona-Ifé has discovered that her true passion lies in combatting health disparities within communities of color, especially for Black women and children. She is very happy to be joining the Living F.R.E.E. Lab because much of the social science research that exists often excludes the voices of communities of color, and she is excited to be a part of expanding the knowledge base and making the experiences of Black women more visible.