Meharry Welcomes Dr. Rosemary Nabaweesi as the RWJF Endowed Chair of Health Policy

Dr. Nabaweesi will lead the Center’s health policy research on minority health and education inequities in rural and urban communities


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 9, 2021)—Meharry Medical College is proud to announce that Rosemary Nabaweesi, DrPH, MBChB, has been named the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation endowed chair of health policy in the Center for Health Policy at MMC.


Dr. Nabaweesi, a health services research expert, will support the College’s expanded efforts to use health policy, implementation and community-engaged research to address African American injury-related childhood disparities and education inequities. With more than 25 years’ experience in injury research addressing health disparities in urban and rural communities, Dr. Nabaweesi’s work will aim to improve the inequitable built (physical) and social environments of underserved African American communities. As an associate professor, she will teach a course centered on leadership and population health change.


“We are thrilled that Dr. Nabaweesi has joined Meharry in its efforts to eradicate health disparities among minority populations, specifically as it relates to home safety practices,” said James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College. “Dr. Nabaweesi has extensive knowledge in injury-related infant mortality disparities and can draw the connection between policy and environmental factors that influence lower life expectancy in minority populations. Spearheading this new research at Meharry will generate a transformative change in the field.”


Dr. Nabaweesi played a vital role in securing the RWJF Culture of Health Leaders grant, which will fund the Center’s efforts to advance a culture of health for underserved African American populations. The RWJF Culture of Health Leaders program is a three-year professional development opportunity designed to prepare leaders to influence and improve health inequities by developing a bold strategic initiative to advance a culture of health. Dr. Nabaweesi is also a Leader in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Fellow, a training program designed to develop a pathway for diverse leaders to conduct culturally responsive and equitable evaluation focused on creating transformative change.


“I am honored to assume the role as the inaugural RWJF endowed chair of health policy and am excited to support the College in its mission to advance health equity,” said Dr. Nabaweesi. “Prevention research yields a large return on investment when addressing health challenges faced by minority communities, and I look forward to contributing to the shift towards population health. I am eager to begin collaborations with other centers and colleges at Meharry, the local community and institutions across the state and beyond to enhance research that will address key social and built environmental factors that contribute to minority health inequities.”


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 a 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.