Dr. Lori Thomas is the Executive Director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. Thomas leads the Urban Institute’s research and engagement with the community on social, economic and environmental challenges. Thomas is also the Associate Professor of Social Work at UNC Charlotte and serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Social Capital, an integrated data system operated by the Urban Institute. She oversees and leads the work of community-engaged researchers and graduate students and facilitates use of linked administrative data by faculty researchers and community organizations.
A Tennessee native, Thomas holds a Ph.D. in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has included multiyear projects to address systemic problems such as homelessness, using quantitative and qualitative research to find solutions.