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Eric James Charlton, Ph.D. is a 2021 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Eric James Charlton at his Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Elizabeth Holloway, Committee Chair, Dr. Donna Ladkin, Committee Member, Dr. Jon Westover, Committee Member.

Dissertation Committee

  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., ABPP, Committee Chair
  • Donna Ladkin, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Jon Westover Ph.D., Committee Member


self-concept, identity, hermeneutic phenomenology, leadership, healthcare, belonging

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Reducing disparities in health services delivery and outcomes is a continued challenge. The consistence of healthcare disparities, despite advances in medical technology and increased awareness of the problem, poses an ongoing test to the nation. There is a growing body of work that demonstrates providing access to good primary care may be the most effective intervention at hand. For over 40 years, community health centers have been providing quality, comprehensive primary care focusing on reducing health outcome disparities. Increased awareness is now emphasizing primary care elimination of health disparities within disadvantaged, underserved populations. A major failing of the system that delivers healthcare to the urban poor is the dearth of appropriate health care providers. The overarching research question that my study addressed is: How do physicians, who lead in urban community health centers, make meaning of their self-concept and identity in their leadership? The research represented by this dissertation adds to the domain of healthcare leadership because what is needed to transform the landscape of healthcare begins with understanding the “being” aspect of a human being. This study focuses on eight physicians who work in urban community health centers in the southwestern Ohio region, and thirteen interviews describing the phenomena of their meaning making of self and identity. Key findings for understanding motivations, lived backgrounds, career decisions, and/or other rewards that might influence physicians in UCHCs are well established. This qualitative study also represents a unique opportunity to showcase how physician leaders make meaning of self during a pandemic, as well as significant findings of how UCHC physicians are leading in practice for social change. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


Eric James Charlton

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0002-5997-2395

Eric is an Assistant Professor of Allied Health at the University of Cincinnati- Blue Ash campus. He is also Co-Owner & Co-Founder of Charlton● Charlton & Associates, an emotional wellness firm. As a previous healthcare administrator, Eric increased productivity and employee morale, managing a diverse staff & bridging gap between physicians, staff & patients. Eric works with employee groups and organizations to address moral injury, burnout, emotional wellness, and the power of ‘Harnessing Happiness’. He has worked in healthcare organizations in over 25 states ranging from Trauma 1 centers to small rural acute care settings. He as an Associate degree in Radiologic Technology from Sinclair Community College, a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Services from Wilberforce University, a Master of Health Administration from Ohio University, a master in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, and a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Eric and his wife have been married for 19 years, and they have two children, a daughter who is a senior Marketing major at the Alabama State University, and a son who is a freshman at the University of Dayton, majoring in Political Science.