Our Staff

Rita Nahta

Rita Nahta



Associate Director, Center for Advancing Healthy Communities


Rita Nahta is an Associate Director in the Center for Advancing Healthy Communities. In this role, Rita leads the tobacco and cancer disparities team, providing leadership and strategic direction to a five-year cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) entitled, National Networks Driving Action: Preventing Tobacco and Cancer-Related Health Disparities by Building Equitable Communities, with a focus on people with disabilities and U.S. Veterans. Her responsibilities include administration of all aspects of programming, including strategic planning, implementation, and evaluation of program activities; developing and sustaining relationships with partners; supervision of the tobacco and cancer disparities team; and overall management of the five-year cooperative agreement.

Rita has worked across the cancer continuum, contributing to comprehensive cancer control activities, for more than 30 years. She served as an academic principal investigator, mentor, and professor, leading an extramurally funded cancer research program for 15 years, during which she was recognized as a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar. Her most recent research focused on equity-centered implementation and quality improvement of cancer prevention and control interventions across multiple social ecological levels. As a faculty member, she developed, delivered, and evaluated graduate medical education curricula and programs focused on the pathophysiology and treatment of chronic diseases, research design, and scientific writing.

Rita also led the research impact team at the American Cancer Society, where she developed and implemented communities of practice and learning collaboratives to support the cancer health equity centers and diversity in cancer research extramural programs. Rita served as a Health Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she provided strategic insights for health equity initiatives and program improvement analyses to support the overdose fatality reviews community programs. She was selected as a member of the Health Equity & Belonging Strategic Leadership Academy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rita earned a PhD in Pathology from Duke University and an Executive MPH in Prevention Science from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. She is a member of the Emory University Woodruff Health Educators Academy and Phi Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, where she volunteers on the Executive Board to facilitate educational opportunities for public health students and alumni. She also volunteers to coach healthcare professionals to design and implement quality improvement interventions and volunteers with community programs focused on education, health equity, and health promotion. She lives in Decatur, GA, and loves spending time with family, reading, meditating, exercising, and cooking.

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