The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


A healthier creative concept


Two graduate students find support across the UNC-Chapel Hill innovation community for their up-and-coming public health communications agency

By Sutton Cavalchire and Taylor Doggett
Photography by Sarah Daniels
Newman Carpenter Health founders Emily Newman and Kathryn Carpenter at the 1789 student innovation hub on Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill

Why Innovators Care

Startup UNC is a course at UNC-Chapel Hill that helps students and faculty explore how to launch their entrepreneurial ideas

People not familiar with their work constantly ask Kathryn Carpenter and Emily Newman what exactly is listed in their catalog of health communication products and services. And Carpenter’s reply is indicative of what makes the duo’s up-and-coming public health agency distinct: “Whatever the client needs to achieve behavioral change,” she quips. “We don’t always know what our clients will need, but our unique approach helps us to land on a solution,” says Newman.

Last semester Innovate Carolina began following the innovation journey charted by Carpenter and Newman, two Gillings School of Global Public Health master’s students. At Gillings, they recognized the need to reinvent how public health communication can function for the public. From there, they enrolled in Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Startup UNC course during the fall 2019 semester with the mission of innovating health communications.


Since November’s Carolina Challenge Pitch Party, the team continued to develop their brand Newman Carpenter. Newman Carpenter merges health behavior expertise with backgrounds in entertainment, linguistics, design and education.

“That’s our whole foundation—we are a public health agency that does creative work,” says Carpenter.  The agency will serve health organizations whose work impacts behavioral change.

Carpenter and Newman use space and mentors provided by 1789 to help their business

“That’s our whole foundation—we are a public health agency that does creative work,” says Carpenter.

Kathryn Carpenter
Carpenter leads a brainstorming session in a 1789 conference room

Continuing in the Startup UNC course during the spring 2020 semester has helped Carpenter and Newman hone their offerings and expand their portfolio. Even though they are building a company that’s still in development, the students say that the past few months have taught them the importance of hitting the ground running.


“We have identified even more need than we originally thought there was,” says Carpenter. The duo is continually taking on new clients and expanding what they offer.


Potential clients looking for assistance with their health messaging turn to Newman Carpenter for data collection, brand development, content creation and health behavior change strategy.


This year, Newman Carpenter is partnering with the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to create a vaping prevention website for communities. The site – called Vaping Prevention Resource – will help prevent the dangerous addiction among youth.


As opportunities continue to come its way, Newman Carpenter has steadily taken advantage of the wealth of venture support at the University, with rewarding results.


“My perception was that business was so competitive. But since meeting other startup founders, that has not been the case at Carolina,” says Carpenter. “We have received so much love and support for our fresh take on health communications.”


“All of the mentors in the 1789 lab are entrepreneurs and want to help you learn and grow,” says Newman. “I think even after we graduate, we will still be able to tap into that entrepreneurial space.”


As for the future, the pair is excited to apply for a position in the 2020 Launch Chapel Hill summer cohort and begin working full time after their graduation.


Newman says, “We want Chapel Hill to always be the base of our business. We plan on staying around.” Newman Carpenter is taking on new clients. They can be reached at


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