Deborah A. Austin, Ph.D.
Director of Community Engagement

Dr. Austin serves as Director of Community Engagement for REACHUP, Inc./Central Hillsborough Start. In this capacity, she oversees the creation, implementation and management of communication strategies as well as a broad array of activities designed to identify, initiate, and deepen relationships with various community stakeholders. She also is responsible for researching, promoting and fostering innovative services and policies that promote health equity. Dr. Austin also is Affiliate Faculty, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Department of Community and Family Health. She received her doctorate in Communication from the University of South Florida and her bachelors and masters degrees at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She co-authored several articles including High risk community—men’s perceptions of black infant mortality: A qualitative inquiry (American Journal of Men’s Health) and Community-Academic partnerships to reduce black-white disparities in infant mortality in Florida (Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, And Action). Her specialties include community engaged research, Appreciative Inquiry (an organizational development method which focuses on increasing what individuals, families and organizations do well), performance ethnography and community engagement and mobilization within a framework of cultural humility. Trained by Cook Ross, a consulting firm in Silver Spring, MD, committed to creating organizations in which all people communicate effectively, recognize their value, develop as leaders, and contribute powerfully to their organizations, Dr. Austin also conducts training on unconscious/implicit bias.