About the Center

In February 2009, Meharry Medical College received a grant to establish the Center for Health Policy. The Center exists to provide leadership in health policy education along with research and reform on national, state, and local levels, while continually supporting Meharry Medical College’s historic mission of improving the health and health care of minority and underserved communities.


The Center offers a Certificate in Health Policy and integrates seminars, research activities, networking events and professional development workshops aimed at training the nation’s best and brightest health policy leaders. The mission of the Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College is to increase the diversity of health policy leaders in the social, behavioral, and health sciences who will one day influence health policy at the national level.


The Center accomplishes its mission through four aims:

  • Recruiting and matriculating diverse health and social scientists into the field of Health Policy.
  • Developing a strong, collaborative environment that supports health policy education and scholarly development among faculty, fellows, scholars, and leadership that spans across Meharry Medical College and strategic partners.
  • Creating a national reputation and image for the Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College, as a leading source for health policy, analysis, and research.
  • Maintaining strong relationships with local and national community partners by collaborating on mutually beneficial projects that advance health equity.


Dexter Samuels

A. Dexter Samuels, Ph.D.
Executive Director

A. Dexter Samuels, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College and Senior Vice President for Student and Faculty Affairs at Meharry.


Dr. Samuels comes to Meharry after nine years at Tennessee State University where he served most recently as Vice President for Student Affairs and, prior to that, as the Assistant Dean in the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs. He began his academic career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Administration and Health Sciences at Tennessee State University. Formerly, Dr. Samuels served as Director of the Title VI Program for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Additionally, Dr. Samuels served as the Program Director of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in the Division of Mental Health Services.


Dr. Samuels’ academic background includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Michigan State University, a Master of Science Degree in Health Care Administration from Western Kentucky University, and a Doctorate of Philosophy Degree in Public Administration from Tennessee State University. He is a recipient of the 2007 Kettering Foundation Public Scholars Fellowship. Also, Dr. Samuels is a graduate of the Tennessee Government Executive Institute Class of 1997 as well as Leadership Middle Tennessee Class of 2003.


In his roles as Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Dr. Samuels will be responsible for leading and directing the offices of Admissions, Registrar, Student Life, Faculty Affairs and the Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. He will also serve as a member of Meharry’s Executive Management Team.

Our Staff

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Terrica Arnold, Ed.D.

Senior Research Program Manager

Dr. Terrica Arnold joined the Center for Health Policy in April 2014. Dr. Arnold leads the Center’s community engagement initiatives, manages the Certificate in Health Policy Program, and collaborates with the team in grant writing and research endeavors. Under the Center, Dr. Arnold leads the Choosing How I Lead Life (CHILL) Program and Youth Achieving Success (YAS) Program. Both programs aim to reduce violence and conflicts among youth in the Nashville Community. Dr. Arnold has also led the Health Snack Tour Program and Meharry Wellness Club, to combat obesity and other health disparities. Dr. Arnold received her undergraduate degree in political science from Fisk University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Tennessee State University (TSU), and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from TSU. She has dedicated over a decade to higher education in the areas of student life, civic engagement and community-based minority health disparity research and programming.

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Rosemary Nabaweesi, Dr.PH., MBChB

RWJF Endowed Chair for Health Policy
Associate Professor

Dr. Rosemary Nabaweesi is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Endowed Chair for Health Policy and Associate Professor in the Center for Health Policy at the School of Graduate Studies and Research, Meharry Medical College. Dr. Nabaweesi is a health services research expert who uses implementation and community engagement research to address inequities associated with childhood injury, infant mortality and education found in urban and rural communities. She has over 25 of research experience, 10 years in childhood injury research including motor vehicle crashes, ATVs, child abuse, infant safe sleep, and acute trauma care continuous quality improvement. She uses culturally responsive and equitable evaluation for the pipeline programs targeting underrepresented minority students.


Dr. Nabaweesi is a Leader in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity fellow and currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader.


Dr. Nabaweesi comes to Meharry from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where she served for seven years as an assistant professor of pediatrics and five years as an adjunct assistant professor for health policy and management. She also served as senior director for research and evaluation in the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Her academic background includes an M.D. from the Makerere University School of Medicine, Uganda’s largest and oldest public university. She also earned Master of Public Health with a concentration in reproductive and population health and a doctorate in health policy management, both from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


In her current role, Dr. Nabaweesi will lead the Center’s Health Policy research and academic missions at Meharry Medical College.

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Tarryn Bell, MBA

Program Director, B.R.I.D.G.E. to Success

Tarryn Bell serves as the Director of the B.R.I.D.G.E. to Success Program. She oversees all daily operations and budgetary functions of the funded grant. Her passion to serve translates into the continuous assistance of underserved Nashville families. She works diligently, alongside staff and community partners, to ensure all participants receive the essential services to flourish and ultimately, eradicate generational barriers. Prior to this position, she served in healthcare leadership roles in various capacities: Ambulatory Operations, Program and Project Management. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management from Florida A&M University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of West Georgia.

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Creea Shannon, MS

Family Champion, B.R.I.D.G.E to Success

Creea Shannon serves as the Family Champion for the B.R.I.D.G.E. to Success program in the Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. She works to develop and implement workshops over educational development, job readiness, and health & wellness for 2nd generation and families in poverty. She manages and oversees the B.R.I.D.G.E to Success Program participants by guiding day-to-day operational and programmatic elements of each assigned family and completing interaction daily with Career Counselors, school liaisons and other necessary staff that work with the program participants.


She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry after receiving a TLSAMP Scholarship. She also earned her Master of Science degree from Tennessee State University in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry. She completed her Master of Science degree in Data Science from Lipscomb University.

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Gregory Greer, MSPH

Career Counselor, B.R.I.D.G.E for Success

Gregory Greer serves as a Career Counselor for the B.R.I.D.G.E to Success Program. He provides resources for program participants that enhance their professional and technical skills, as well as makes connections for workforce and economic development opportunities. Mr. Greer attended Howard University after receiving a Gates Millennium Scholarship, where he worked as a Peer Health Educator, serving as the first line of engagement for campus and community initiatives. He earned a B.S. in Health Education as well as a B.A. in Sociology from Howard University. He went on to receive a Master’s of Science in Public Health at Meharry Medical College while also earning a Certificate in Health Policy in the Center for Health Policy.

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Jasmine Buckley, MEd

Career Counselor, B.R.I.D.G.E to Success

Jasmine Buckley serves as a Career Counselor for the B.R.I.D.G.E. to Success Program. She is a graduate of Tennessee State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration. She also earned her Master of Education degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in School Counseling. During her graduate program, she worked as a Graduate Assistant in the Multicultural Center, and lead a successful mentorship program that served a diverse student population. Prior to this role, she worked as a High School Counselor within Metro Nashville Public Schools for the past three years.

National Advisory Board

The National Advisory Board of the Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College consists of experts and leaders in health and health policy from across the nation providing the center’s executive director with advice, guidance, and counsel in the development and implementation of the strategic plan, assistance in identifying opportunities for furthering the center’s development, and promotion of the center’s affiliated fellows and scholars. The National Advisory Board members are:

James Blumstein

James Blumstein, M.A., L.L.B.

University Professor of Law
Vanderbilt Law School
Vanderbilt Health Policy Center
Vanderbilt University

Susan Busch

Susan Busch, Ph.D.

Associate Professor,
Public Health (Health Policy);
Faculty of Arts & Sciences
Chair, Health Policy & Management
Yale University

Rosalyn Carpenter

Ms. Rosalyn Carpenter

Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion
Catholic Health Initiatives
Englewood, Colorado

Lisa Dubay

Lisa Dubay, Ph.D., Sc.M.

Senior Fellow
Urban Institute

Werner, Rachel

Rachel M. Werner, M.D., Ph.D.

Executive Director, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
Robert D. Eilers Professor, Health Care Management, Wharton School
Professor, Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine

Darrell Gaskin

Darrell J. Gaskin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Health Economics
Department of Health Policy & Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Ninez A. Ponce

Ninez A. Ponce, MPP, Ph.D.

Director, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
Professor, Health Policy & Management
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health​
University of California Los Angeles

Thomas A. LaVeist

Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D.

William C. and Nancy F. Richardson Professor in Health Policy
Department of Health Policy & Management
Director, Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Rueben C. Warren

Rueben C. Warren, D.D.S., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., M.Div.

National Center for Bioethics in Research & Health Care
Tuskegee University

Steve G. Ullmann

Steven G. Ullmann, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Health Sector Management & Policy
Professor of Economics, School of Business Administration
Professor of Epidemiology, Public Health,
Family Medicine, & Community Health,
School of Medicine
Miami University

Board Emeritus

Bill Frist

William Frist, M.D.

Former U.S. Senator and Majority Leader
Nashville, Tennessee

Ad Hoc Members

A. Dexter Samuels, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Student Affairs
Executive Director, Center for Health Policy
Meharry Medical College