Photo of Carnahan, Leslie R.

Leslie R. Carnahan, PhD, MPH

Research Assistant Professor

Research Scientist, Cancer Center Community Engagement and Health Equity Office; Faculty Affiliate, Center for Research on Women and Gender

Community Health Sciences

Pronouns: She/They


Building & Room:

SPHPI, Rm. 658


1603 W. Taylor St.

Office Phone:

(312) 355-1137

UI Cancer Center

Building & Room:

SCW, Rm. 527


818 S. Wolcott Ave.

Office Phone:

(312) 413-7931


My research interest are focused broadly on health disparity populations. Specifically, my work is focused on understanding how the quality, structures, and types of social factors (community-level, network, and interpersonal) contribute to differences in survival and quality of life outcomes among cancer survivors and caregiver. I am also engaged in a number of state-wide evaluations for cancer prevention and health promotion programs in Illinois.

Selected Publications

Carnahan LC, Rauscher GH, Watson KS, Altfeld S, Zimmermann K, Ferrans CE, Molina Y. (2020). Comparing the roles of social context, networks, and perceived social functioning with health-related quality of life among rural female cancer survivors. Supportive Care in Cancer. Advance online publication. Doi: 10.1007/s00520-020-05497-8

Brewer KC, Peacock NR, Ferrans CE, Campbell RT, Polite B, Carnahan LR, Rauscher GH. (2020). Gender- and race-based differences in barriers and facilitators to early detection of colon cancer. Journal of Women’s Health. Advance online publication. doi:

Lewis-Thames MW, Carnahan LR, James AS, Watson, KS, Molina Y. (2020). Understanding post-treatment patient-provider communication and follow-up care among self-identified rural cancer survivors in Illinois. Journal of Rural Health. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12414

Strayhorn S, Carnahan LR, Zimmermann K, Hastert T, Watson KS, Ferrans CE, Molina Y. (2020). Co-morbidities, treatment-related consequences and health-related quality of life among rural cancer survivors. Supportive Care in Cancer. 28(4), 1839-1848.

Hallgren E, Hastert TA, Carnahan LR, Eberth JM, Mama S, Watson K, Molina Y. (2020). Cancer-related debt and mental health-related quality of life among rural cancer survivors: Do social networks moderate the relationship? Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 61(1), 113-130.

Carnahan L, Jones L, Brewer K, Watts E, Peterson C, Ferrans C, Cipriano T, Polite B, Maker A, Chowdhery R, Molina Y, Rauscher G. (2019). Race and gender differences in awareness of colorectal cancer screening tests and guidelines among recently diagnosed colon cancer patients in an urban setting.  Journal of Cancer Education. Advance online publication.

Zimmermann K, Carnahan L, Khare M, Chakraborty A, Risser H, Molina Y, Geller S. (2019). Effectiveness of a faith-placed cardiovascular health promotion intervention for rural adults. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice. 12(6), 95-111.

Carnahan LR, Zimmermann K, Khare, MM, Paulsey E, Molina Y, Wilbur J, Geller SE. (2018).  Physical activity and masculinity in rural men: A qualitative study of men recruited from churches. Health Education Research, 33(2), 145-154

Molina Y, Zimmermann K, Carnahan LR, Paulsey E, Bigman CA, Khare MM, Zahnd W, & Jenkins W. (2018). Rural women’s perceptions about cancer disparities and contributing factors: A call to communication. Journal of Cancer Education, 33(4), 749-756

Carnahan L, Zimmermann K, Peacock N. (2016). What rural women want the public health community to know about access to healthful food: A qualitative study, 2011. Preventing Chronic Disease, 13, E57 1-11.


Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, Division of Community Health Sciences

M.P.H., University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, Division of Community Health Sciences

B.G.S., Northern Illinois University, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Professional Memberships

American Public Health Association (2010-Present)

Illinois Rural Health Association (2015-Present)

American Association for Cancer Research (Associate Member) (2018-Present)

Cancer Disparities Research Network, GMaP Region 4 (2018-Present)