Semra A. Aytur

Master in Public Policy Faculty
Faculty Fellow
Phone: (603) 862-3415
Office: Health Management & Policy, Hewitt Hall Rm 335, Durham, NH 03824
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Semra Aytur is a Master in Public Policy faculty member, Carsey faculty fellow and assistant professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy. Her research interests focus on relationships between policy, environment, and systems change to promote healthy behaviors and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. She is particularly interested in health disparities and in relationships between land use, transportation, and environmental policies that affect access to health-promoting resources.

Prior to joining the University of New Hampshire, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Semra is experienced in the design, implementation, and analysis of research and evaluation studies focused on policy and environmental change. She received a dissertation grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to examine the relationships between land use policies, transportation infrastructure investments, physical activity, and obesity. She has also conducted community-based participatory research in rural, lower-income communities. Additionally, she obtained practical public health experience by working in public health departments in several states, focusing on policies related to healthy eating, active living, and chronic disease prevention. She received a bachelor's degree from Brown University, a master's degree in public health from Boston University, and a doctorate degree in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She enjoys working with diverse transdisciplinary teams to examine how policy, environment, and systems change can improve community health.


  • Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • M.P.H., Health Services Administration, Boston University
  • B.A., Biology/Biological Sciences, Brown University

Courses Taught

  • HMP 501: Epidemiology&Communty Medicine
  • HMP 505: Public Health:Hist & Practice
  • HMP 569: Human Behavior & Public Health
  • HMP 715: Environmental Health
  • HMP 746: Health Policy
  • HMP 796: Independent Study
  • INCO 590: Rsrch Exp/Health Man. & Policy
  • INCO 790: Adv Rsrch Exp/HealthMan&Policy
  • PHP 907: Public Health Policy

Selected Publications

Aytur, S., Craig, P. J., Frye, M., Bonica, M., Rainer, S., Hapke, L., & McGilvray, M. (2018). Through the Lens of a Camera: Exploring the Meaning of Competitive Sport Participation Among Youth Athletes with Disabilities. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 52(2), 95-125. doi:10.18666/TRJ-2018-V52-I2-8774

Sreedhara, M., Goins, K. V., Aytur, S. A., Lyn, R., Maddock, J. E., Riessman, R., . . . Lemon, S. C. (2017). Qualitative Exploration of Cross-Sector Perspectives on the Contributions of Local Health Departments in Land-Use and Transportation Policy. Preventing Chronic Disease, 14. doi:10.5888/pcd14.170226

Bucci, J. P., Shattuck, M. D., Aytur, S. A., Carey, R., & McDowell, W. H. (2017). A case study characterizing animal fecal sources in surface water using a mitochondrial DNA marker. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 189(8). doi:10.1007/s10661-017-6107-z

Gartska, S., & Aytur, S. A. (2016). Perceptions of youth on health, nutrition, and well-being in their local community: The Somersworth Photovoice Project. Inquiry Journal (UNH). Retrieved from

Aytur, S., Marquis, T., Bors, P., Katz, J., & Bell, R. (2016). The Role of Health-Related Community Investing As a Strategy to Promote Active Living. Environment and Behavior, 48(1), 89-110. doi:10.1177/0013916515614367

Evenson, K. R., Aytur, S. A., & Borodulin, K. (2009). Physical Activity Beliefs, Barriers, and Enablers among Postpartum Women. Journal of Women's Health, 18(12), 1925-1934. doi:10.1089/jwh.2008.1309

Rodríguez, D. A., Aytur, S., Forsyth, A., Oakes, J. M., & Clifton, K. J. (2008). Relation of modifiable neighborhood attributes to walking. Preventive Medicine, 47(3), 260-264. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.02.028

Aytur, S. A., Rodriguez, D. A., Evenson, K. R., Catellier, D. J., & Rosamond, W. D. (2007). Promoting Active Community Environments through Land Use and Transportation Planning. American Journal of Health Promotion, 21(4_suppl), 397-407. doi:10.4278/0890-1171-21.4s.397

Jacobs, A. D., Ammerman, A. S., Ennett, S. T., Campbell, M. K., Tawney, K. W., Aytur, S. A., . . . Rosamond, W. D. (2004). Effects of a Tailored Follow-Up Intervention on Health Behaviors, Beliefs, and Attitudes. Journal of Women's Health, 13(5), 557-568. doi:10.1089/1540999041281016

Sadeh, A., Acebo, C., Seifer, R., Aytur, S., & Carskadon, M. A. (1995). Activity-based assessment of sleep-wake patterns during the 1st year of life. Infant Behavior and Development, 18(3), 329-337. doi:10.1016/0163-6383(95)90021-7

Most Cited Publications