Programs, Scholars & Fellows

Among its many duties addressing health policy issues, RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College conducts its mission through several programs regarding education, awareness, and professional development in the arena of health policy. Those programs include:

The Health Policy Fellows Program is a prestigious doctoral fellowship program for students with educational and research interests that include health and health policy analysis and research. The RWJF Health Policy Fellows Program seeks to increase the participation of underrepresented groups throughout the nation in the development, implementation, and analysis of health policy.

 

Through a partnership with Vanderbilt University’s College of Arts and Science, health policy fellows are enrolled in one of their doctoral programs in economics, political science, or sociology. Health policy fellows are fully supported and earn a doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University while participating in additional coursework, seminars and research activities at Meharry Medical College leading to the completion of a Certificate in Health Policy.

 

Health policy fellows receive a generous five-year funding package which includes:

  • paid tuition
  • annual stipend of $32,000
  • health insurance

 

NOTE: The RWJF Center for Health Policy is no longer accepting applications for the Health Policy Fellows Program.

Meet the Fellows

Mia Keeys

Mia Keeys

2013 COHORT

Mia Keeys is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. Keeys graduated with honors from Cheyney University, where she studied English and psychology and studied abroad in Ghana, West Africa. Prior to pursuing graduate work, Keeys worked as a Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholar in the Office of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation. It was here that she became greatly influenced in studying health policy. Afterward, Keeys served in the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Health and Opportunity in her hometown of Philadelphia before relocating to South Africa to work with loveLife, the nation’s premier HIV/AIDS youth prevention campaign. At loveLife, Keeys conducted multi-provincial research on communicative barriers between youth and caregivers concerning sexual health. Her time in South Africa encouraged her to explore areas where health policies are burgeoning, thus, she was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Scholarship in West Timor, Indonesia. Keeys spent three years in Indonesia, achieving fluidity of the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, and observing how Indonesian youth are motivated toward positive health behavior change. Since entering the Fellows program, Keeys has published an article on the RWJF Human Capital Blog and has attended various conferences. Keeys aims to extend these interests to the study of racial health disparities, health messaging, health policy, and the health of Global Southern youth.

Salama Freed

Salama Freed

2012 COHORT

Salama Freed is a doctoral student in the Department of Economics at Vanderbilt University. Her primary research interest is in the management of the health care sector. She focuses on the relationship between health care costs, patients’ health outcomes, and the development and implementation of new medical technology, such as new pharmaceuticals or medical procedures. Prior to her matriculation at Vanderbilt, Salama earned master’s degrees from North Carolina State University and Duke University as well as an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University.

Gabriela León-Perez

Gabriela León-Perez

Gabriela León-Perez is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. A native of Mexico, León graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the Universidad de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. During her undergraduate coursework, she studied a semester abroad in Austria where she attended IMC Fachhoschule Krems. She later obtained a master’s degree in sociology from Texas A&M International University. Her research interests include Hispanic health, health disparities, immigration, and immigrant identity.

Taylor Hargrove

Taylor Hargrove

2011 Fellows

Taylor Hargrove is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2011, and a master’s degree in sociology from Vanderbilt University in December 2013. Her research interests include race and racism, social stratification, health and health disparities, and stress. She has co-authored an article with her advisor, Dr. Tyson Brown, entitled Multidimensional Approaches to Examining Gender and Racial/Ethnic Stratification in Health.  In this piece, the authors examine the differential ways in which race/ethnicity and gender combine to shape health.  Additionally, Taylor has presented her work at the American Sociology Association and published articles related to health disparities on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. She continues to work independently and collaboratively with her advisors and other scholars on projects regarding racial/ethnic, gender, and age disparities in health and health trajectories.

Erika Leslie

Erika Leslie

Erika Leslie was born in Jamaica, and migrated to the United States to attend Fisk University. At Fisk, she earned a Bachelor of Science in biology. She then matriculated to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she received a master of science in public health in reproductive and cancer biology with a certification in health disparities. She is a doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt University and resides in Nashville with her husband and dog. In July 2012, Leslie was featured on the RWJF Human Capital Blog, in which she shared her experience attending the International Conference on Health in the African Diaspora (ICHAD)August 2013, she presented her scholarly work titled, “Discrimination, Racial Group Identity, and Depressive Symptoms: Consequences of Within Group Variation among Black Americans” at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. Her research interests include access to care, social determinants of health, Afro-Caribbean immigrants, and health policy.

Whitney Lopez

Whitney López-Hardin

Whitney Lopez-Hardin is a Ph.D. student in political science at Vanderbilt University. Her primary field of study is comparative politics with a secondary focus in American politics. Her research interests include migration, race and identity politics, and gender with regard to health care access. She obtained a B.A. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in international studies and Spanish in 2008. She earned an M.A. from the University of Florida in Latin American studies in 2011.

Daniel Sebastian Tello

Daniel Sebastian Tello

D. Sebastian Tello is a Ph.D. student in economics at Vanderbilt University. Tello was born and raised in Lima, Peru. After coming to the U.S., he received a B.S. degree in pure mathematics and economics from Florida State University where he wrote an honors thesis on parents’ decisions in signing up their children for SCHIP. He is currently working on non linear effects of obesity on wages and labor force participation, an impact evaluation of returns to quality of health center with NICUs in Peru and studying how loss in health insurance affects health behaviors. Prior to his studies at Vanderbilt he was a project associate for Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) based in New Haven, Connecticut.  Before joining IPA he worked as research assistant for a development economist at the Catholic University of Lima (PUCP).  His research interest are focused on health behaviors, and relationship between price and health quality, as well as measurement of quality in health economics.

Kanetha Wilson

Kanetha Wilson

Kanetha Wilson is a doctoral student in the sociology department at Vanderbilt University. Prior to Vanderbilt, Kanetha worked primarily in managerial and teaching positions within the education sector. In 2014, she was one of three student researchers awarded a Pilot Project Mini-Grant, in which she collaborated with senior faculty at Vanderbilt to research survivorship in women of color. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Tennessee, where she was nominated and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Society. Her research interests include health disparities, physical and mental health of minority children, and the impact of health interventions on the labor market.

Helena Dagadu

Helena Dagadu, MA, MPH

2010 FELLOWS

Helena Dagadu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University and a Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. Her research interests include health disparities and inequities, race and ethnicity, medical sociology, population health, and health policy. Her current research questions how social and demographic changes, particularly those due to immigration, challenge traditional understandings and conceptualizations of race and ethnicity, racial and ethnic identity, and health inequities in the United States. Her master’s thesis examined heterogeneity in the U.S. black population and its impact on racial group identity and risk for heart disease. She is currently working on her dissertation research, which compares the non-communicable disease experiences of native-born blacks with African (Ghanaian) immigrants. As a Health Policy Fellow, Dagadu has presented at several conferences, including the American Sociological Association and the Population Association of America, and has served as an IMAGINE Tomorrow ambassador for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in which she promoted the need for diversity and inclusion in the health care workforce through a series of web videos.

 

Prior to Vanderbilt, Dagadu worked for the American Psychological Association’s Office on Socioeconomic Status as program manager of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded program addressing cancer health disparities in underserved populations. She graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Maryland in psychology and classical civilization. She also holds an MPH in global health policy from the George Washington University.

Courtney Thomas

Courtney Thomas, MA

Courtney Thomas is in her final year of the sociology doctoral program at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include the Black Middle Class, racial & SES heath disparities, social psychology, and methods and statistics. She is currently working on her dissertation project titled, “More than Discrimination: The Significance of Race-Based Stress for the Mental Health and Well-Being of Black Americans.” Her research examines the effects of more nuanced and ambiguous forms of discrimination on the health of black Americans. She also has ongoing projects that focus on the influence of early life trauma of adult health and social relationships, the effects of stress on pregnancy, and the significance of social support for women’s exposure to chronic stress and its mental health consequences. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Thomas will be presenting her research at several conferences including the International Conference for Social Stress Research, the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, the Society for the Study of Social Problems Annual Meeting, and the Association of Black Sociologists Annual Meeting.

The Health Policy Scholars Program offers Meharry students in the School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, and School of Graduate Studies & Research, who have educational and research interests in health policy and social science research, the opportunity to participate in coursework, seminars and research activities leading to the completion of a Certificate in Health Policy to be awarded in conjunction with the student’s declared academic program degree. Students must maintain a 3.00 GPA in their current academic program.

 

This program offers Meharry students, as well as external applicants and working healthcare professionals, from various disciplines the opportunity to expand their knowledge of health policy as it relates to health care planning, health care resource allocation, health maintenance, health promotion, health programs and interventions, and strategies specific to minority and underserved communities. Students learn from faculty of multiple specialties from both Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University. The program’s curriculum spans two years of training and includes an optional supplemental paid externship experience at a national organization.

 

Download the Scholars Brochure

Meet Our Current Scholars

FALL 2017 COHORT

Cecilia Akintonde
Vida Laudarji
Ariana Renrick
Ashley Simpson
Yvette Ssempijja
Breanna Thomas
Bathsheba Wariso
Gregory Greer
Mabya Nyannor
Nargis Jordan
Myrna Pierre
Meredith Smalls

FALL 2016 COHORT

Philip Bankston
Mae Dobbs
Jillian Duke
Taniesha Gillyard
Brandon Goodloe
Kenneth Harris
Gabriela Heslop
Uchenna Nwosu
Robert Rooks
Miriam Walker
Zachary Zialcita

FALL 2015 COHORT

Annam Abbasi
Marleesa Bastian
Shavonne Collins
Folami Duncan
Ryan Graham
Diamond Goodwin
KaTerri Kelly
Yasser Obaid
Samiyra Vaughn-Ibrahim

FALL 2014 COHORT

Tiffany Alexander
Abubakkar Bangura
Lawrence Brown
James Capers
Rian Cho
Karen Hernan
Benjamin Lee
Margaret Ridge
Nathanael Smith
Tiffany Turner

Certificate in Health Policy Program Logo

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College offers a Certificate in Health Policy designed for individuals with educational and research interests in health policy and social science research. As the only health policy certificate program in Middle Tennessee, we provide a rigorous curriculum taught by leading experts in the fields of health policy, health care and social science, that allow students to gain insight into topics such as: health law, health economics, health equity, social determinants of health, and health disparities. We integrate opportunities to participate in seminars, research activities, networking events and professional development workshops all aimed at training the nation’s best and brightest health policy leaders.

 

The Certificate in Health Policy Program is an excellent way for medical, dental, doctoral and graduate students to enhance their academic experience. Evening classes also make the program ideal for recent graduates and working, health care professionals to advance their careers.

 

Our alumni continue on to pursue careers with top healthcare organizations, medical schools, and government agencies including: the Centers for Disease Control, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California-San Francisco, NAACP and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

 

Learn More About The Program, and How to Apply

The National Scholars’ Current Issues in Health Policy Lecture Series is the Center’s signature experience for Health Policy Scholars and Health Policy Fellows. The lectures provide an opportunity for anyone interested in provocative health and health policy issues to hear from the field’s leading experts from across the nation. The purpose is to familiarize participants with current and substantive key issues in health policy, health services research, and health disparities research with an emphasis in the social science disciplines of economics, sociology, and political science. The lecture series focuses on the breadth of topics and controversies affecting health policy – now and in the foreseeable future. Because of the dynamic nature of health policy, the content of this series will vary from year to year as issues evolve and new challenges emerge.

 

Lectures are held at mid-day and complimentary lunch is served at each seminar. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP is required to attend. Click here to watch past lecture videos.

The Health Policy Professional Development Program is designed to produce expertly trained and highly skilled, leaders and researchers committed to participating in health policy education, research, and reform specific to improving the health and health care of minority and underserved communities. The program, offered by the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College, seeks to provide a variety of training and development opportunities for affiliated faculty, fellows, and scholars. These opportunities range from qualitative research training to academic writing workshops. A brief description of opportunities are listed below.

 

Visit our partners at

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

 

RESEARCH SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

 

Quantitative Skills
The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Program (ICPSR) is recognized throughout the world as the preeminent forum for basic and advanced training in the methodologies and technologies of social science research because of the range of methodological instruction, the opportunity for intensive study, and the quality of instruction and supporting facilities. The Summer Program provides a comprehensive, integrated program of studies in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social science methodology. The Center will cover registration, travel, and logistical expenses for each participant.

 

Presentation Skills
In collaboration with the RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, the center at Meharry will provide a forum for scholars and faculty to share their research across disciplines and centers. The event will also serve as a forum for participants to discuss cutting edge research topics. The training will also provide instruction and skill building opportunities in conducting qualitative and quantitative research. (Occurs every other fall semester at Meharry Medical College)

 

Dissemination Skills
Media Training Institute – Participants will be given the information and tools necessary to effectively market their research and policy findings to various forms of media including print, radio, and television. Upon completion of the training each participant will have developed appropriate products and delivery skills for radio and television. Professionals from local and national radio, television, and Internet media will also serve as instructors providing valuable feedback to participants. (Occurs every spring semester)

 

Substantive Education and Training
National Poverty Center Summer Research Workshops – These summer workshops are a collaborative effort between the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry. The workshops will provide fellows, scholars, and faculty with information and training in research methods specifically related to the poor and underserved.

 

Statistical Mentoring
Scholars and Fellows will be provided with tutoring and assistance in statistics.

 

ACADEMIC WRITING

 

Academic Writing Workshop Series
This workshop series focuses on developing and honing academic writing skills. The workshop series will cover editing strategies, grammatical usage, and presentation, writing for specific audiences, clarity, building logical arguments, word choice, and fluency. Workshops will include peer review and analysis of participant writing in progress (including dissertations, proposals, etc). (Four 1.5 hour workshops to be taken in sequence)

 

CAREER DEVELOPMENT

 

Creating Your Curriculum Vitae
Participants will be given the information and tools necessary to develop and maintain effective curriculum vitae that best showcase their professional and academic achievements. Participants will learn editing strategies, accuracy in word choice, and appropriate formatting.

 

Conducting a Successful Job Search
Participants will learn how to effectively search for and obtain post graduation and summer employment, internships, and externships. Participants will learn how to maximize and build on previous experiences in order to produce greater achievements.

 

Maximizing the Interview
Participants will learn how to interview successfully for professional and academic settings. This workshop teaches participants how to leave a lasting positive impression that ultimately positions them to be hired. The workshop includes mock interviews that are videoed and analyzed by facilitator and peers to improve participant communication skills and overall presentation.

 

For more information, contact:

Stephen Smith
sjsmith@mmc.edu

2017 Summer Institute on Health Policy Poster

REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT HAS ENDED

Mark your calendars for the 2017 Summer Institute on Health Policy, June 12 – 16, 2017 hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

The Summer Institute on Health Policy is a rigorous summer training program for anyone with educational and research interests in health policy and social science, particularly economics, sociology and political science. The program provides two weeks of intensive, accelerated coursework on topics related to health policy, public health, health economics, law and public policy, and the social sciences. Courses are taught by an impressive lineup of nationally-renowned scholars, researchers, executives and public officials.  Participants benefit from small classroom sizes and a diverse, interdisciplinary classroom learning environment. Instructors utilize hands-on teaching approaches that incorporate a combination of lectures, videos, group activities, interactive discussions and even field trips.

 

The 2017 Summer Institute on Health Policy is taught by Amani Nuru-Jeter, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health Sciences at The University of California-Berkeley. The course, “Introduction to Social Epidemiology,” will run from Monday, June 12 through Friday, June 16, 2017.

 

The Summer Institute is free to attend and open to the general public, including the entire Meharry Medical College community, students/faculty from other universities and working professionals. Participants may opt to receive two credit hours per course toward the completion of their academic degree program or toward the Certificate in Health Policy, which is offered through the RWJF Center for Health Policy. Each course spans one week, meeting daily from 8:30 am – 5 pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to attend the Summer Institute on Health Policy?
There is no cost to attend. We are proud to provide this opportunity free of charge to all participants.

What time does class start and end?
Class typically begins at 8:30 am and ends at approximately 5:00 pm. The instructor may choose to end class early on a particular day, but please plan to stay the entire day as this is not guaranteed.

 

Will you provide meals?
Yes. Breakfast and lunch are provided each day of the Summer Institute. You are welcome to use your lunch hour however you choose. There are also other dining options on campus and nearby.

 

I live in another city. Do you offer travel scholarships?
No.

 

How do I arrange for travel to the Summer Institute?
You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements. The Nashville International Airport (BNA) is a short cab ride from Meharry Medical College and is served by most national airlines. We can provide additional transportation options upon request.

 

Can I attend just a few days of a course?
Yes. However, other participants rely on your participation in the group discussions and breakout sessions. We strongly encourage you to attend the full week as each day builds upon the previous day’s class. You are still required to register, even if you do not intend to attend the entire week.

 

Are there any opportunities to network with other participants?
Yes. Participants are given two breaks each day and one lunch hour to use to get to know other participants. You will be given a program booklet upon arrival of the first class, which will include a directory of those attending the Summer Institute along with their email address. You may contact someone via email should you want to connect based on similar educational/career interests.

 

Where will classes be located?
Classes will be held in the classroom on the first floor of the Clay Simpson Building, which is where the RWJF Center for Health Policy is housed. You may view the campus map to help you get to the building. The location is subject to change due to accommodate class size. Classes will be moved to the Learning Resources Center in the event we need to move the class location.

 

Are there accommodations available for housing and lodging?
Meharry Contact: Charlene E. Hopkins-Goldthreate, Property Manager | (615) 327-5751 | cgoldthreate@mmc.edu
Campus Housing Application

Vanderbilt Countact: Jessica Posey, Office Manager | (615) 343-8699 | jessica.posey@vanderbilt.edu
www.nashvilleinternshiphousing.com

Other: Scarritt Bennet Center | ApartmentFinder | MyNewPlace | Music City Hostel

 

Where should I park?
Complimentary parking passes will be provided to all Summer Institute participants. Those new to campus will be required to register their car with the Office of Security for the week. Limited visitor parking is available for a nominal fee in the Central Parking System lots on Meharry’s campus. The closest lot to the RWJF Center for Health Policy is located at 2012 Meharry Boulevard.  The maximum daily rate is $3.00.  There is additional paid parking available in the garage located at 1821 Albion Avenue (across from Nashville General Hospital at Meharry) and in “Lot F” on the corner of Hermosa Street and 930 21st Avenue South.

 

Will I have Internet access while on campus?
Yes. You will be provided a guest Wi-Fi password to access Meharry’s web service.
Please feel free to email us with additional questions at meharryhealthpolicy@mmc.edu.

The Summer Externship Program is designed for Fellows and Scholars to augment the health policy studies taking place in the classroom with experiential, real-world, experience in a policy work environment.

 

The Externs have paid external learning opportunities during the summer months including housing and transportation at some of the nation’s most noted health policy organizations, academic research institutions, and governmental agencies. Previous externship sites have included:

 

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
Institute of Medicine (IOM)
Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Disparities Solutions
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
National Dental Association (NDA)
National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
RWJF Center for Health Policy at University of New Mexico

 

Call For Applicants

 

The RWJF Center for Health Policy is currently accepting applicants for the 2017 Summer Externship Program. Current Health Policy Fellows and Scholars are eligible to apply. Please note that Scholars are now able to attend the Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Researchconducted by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan, a site previously open to Fellows only.

 

To express interest in becoming a 2017 Summer Extern, please email your resume or CV and a letter of interest to sjsmith@mmc.edu.

2013 Externs

Timothy Guinn

Timothy Guinn
2012 Health Policy Scholar

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
https://healthpolicy.unm.edu/

Eddie Hackler

Eddie Hackler
2012 Health Policy Scholar

National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
https://www.nih.gov/

Taylor Hargrove

Taylor Hargrove
2011 Health Policy Fellow

Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research – June 17-21
Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (Michigan)
https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/

Ballington Kinlock

Ballington Kinlock
2011 Health Policy Scholar

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
https://healthpolicy.unm.edu/

Daniel Sebastian Tello

Daniel S. Tello
2011 Health Policy Fellow

2013 Research Design for Causal Inference Main Workshop – June 24-28
Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois
https://www.northwestern.edu/

Adrian Ware

Adrian Ware
2011 Health Policy Scholar

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College
Nashville, Tennessee
https://www.meharryhealthpolicy.org/

Nadia Winston

Nadia Winston
2012 Health Policy Scholar

National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
https://www.nih.gov/

2012 Externs

Danielle Brown

Danielle Brown, MSPH
Spring 2012 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging, Washington, D.C.

Ashley Huderson

Ashley Huderson
Spring 2012 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, D.C.

Brandon Morgan

Brandon Morgan
Fall 2012 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging, Washington, D.C.

Tulani Washington-Plaskett

Tulani Washington-Plaskett, MS
Fall 2012 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions, Baltimore, Maryland

Jacqueline Denise Watkins

Jacqueline Denise Watkins, MSPH
Spring 2012 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Baltimore, Maryland

2011 Externs

Danielle Brown

Danielle Brown
Spring 2011 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,
Baltimore, Maryland

Janie Charleston

Janie Charleston
Spring 2011 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: National Dental Association,
Washington, D.C.

Cheryl Chun

Cheryl Chun, MA, MS
Spring 2011 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: Institute of Medicine,
Washington, D.C.

Kyle Gardner

Kyle Gardner
Spring 2011 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: National Dental Association,
Washington, D.C.

2010 Externs

Amirah Abdullah

Amirah Abdullah, MSPH
Spring 2010 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, D.C.

Naa Ayele Amponsah

Naa Ayele Amponsah, MSPH
Spring 2010 Health Policy Scholar

Externship Site: National Institute on Aging,
Washington, D.C.

Kevin Blythe

Kevin Blythe, MSPH
Spring 2010 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,
Baltimore, Maryland

Khalil Harbi

Khalil Harbi, MD, MSPH
Spring 2010 Health Policy Scholar

Externship: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,
Baltimore, Maryland

The RWJF Center for Health Policy invites nationally renowned sociologists, economists, political scientists, and health policy experts to serve in our Scholars-in-Residence Visiting Professor Program.

 

These RWJF Scholars-in-Residence (SIR) are an integral component of the Center as they focus on one-on-one mentorship with RWJF Health Policy Fellows and Scholars as well as faculty members at Meharry Medical College (MMC) and Vanderbilt University (VU).  The SIR faculty also leverage intellectual capital at MMC and VU to stimulate and support the careers of MMC and VU RWJF Health Policy Fellows and Scholars to expand the pool of new faculty members who are interested in impacting health policy.  Learn more about our SIR faculty below.

 

For more information, contact Ayesha Harmon at aharmon@mmc.edu

Scholars-In-Residence Visiting Professor Program

James Blumstein

James Blumstein, M.A., L.L.B.
2010-2011

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

Bruce Fried

Bruce Fried, Ph.D.
Summer 2012

Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management
Director of Residential Master’s Program
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Darrell Gaskin

Darrell J. Gaskin, Ph.D.
Summer 2012

Associate Professor of Health Economics
Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, Maryland

Dean Harris

Dean Harris, J.D.
Summer 2012

Clinical Associate of Health Policy & Management
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Thomas A. LaVeist

Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D.
2010-2013

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

Camara Phyllis Jones

Camara Phyllis Jones, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Summer 2012

Research Director on Social Determinants of Health and Equity
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia

Brian D. Smedley

Brian D. Smedley, Ph.D.
Summer 2012

Vice President and Director, Health Policy Institute
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Washington, D.C.

David Williams

David Williams, Ph.D.
Summer 2012

Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health,
Professor of African American Studies
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Health Policy Associates Program is designed to provide faculty of Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University, and other universities with a distinct affiliation and role with the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College in order to encourage and enhance purpose, training, collegiality, commitment to, and support of health policy and social science research.

 

Associates are granted a two-year renewable term in the program.  This term will be based on displaying fidelity to some of the center’s various activities, such as attendance and participation in:  the health policy workshops led by visiting professors in the Scholars-in-Residence (SIR) Program, the National Scholars’ Current Issues in Health Policy Seminar Series, the Special Health Policy Lectures, the Pilot Project Mini-Grant Program, the Scientific Review Committee of the Pilot Project Mini-Grant Program, and other ad hoc committees.

 

Faculty will receive a variety of exciting benefits through their affiliation with the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry:

  • Priority proposal consideration for awards from the RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC Pilot Project Mini-Grant Program;
  • Training opportunities offered through our Health Policy Professional Development Program;
  • Receive priority consideration to attend the Summer Institute on Health Policy, sponsored by the RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC;
  • Priority consideration to attend Summer Statistical Training at the University of Michigan Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR);
  • Priority meeting access to and mentoring from the RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC Scholars-In-Residence Visiting Professors, National Scholars, and National Advisory Board members;
  • Priority inclusion on grant proposals and manuscripts developed by the RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC;
  • Priority access to the RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC forthcoming research support staff regarding biostatistics, data management, and survey research;
  • Annual invitation to the Annual Meharry-Vanderbilt Health Policy Partnership Reception & Lecture and other special events and seminars sponsored by the Center; and
  • Conference travel funds for RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC -related presentations.

 

For more information, contact Ayesha Harmon at aharmon@mmc.edu

Applications are due annually on November 1.

2013 – 2014 Health Policy Associates

Richard A. Epstein

Richard A. Epstein, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry
School of Medicine
Vanderbilt University

Chad K. Gentry

Chad K. Gentry, PharmD, BCACP, CDE
Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
College of Pharmacy & Health Science
Lipscomb University

Derek M. Griffith

Derek M. Griffith, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Center for Medicine, Health & Society
College of Arts & Sciences
Vanderbilt University

Leslie Halpern

Leslie R. Halpern, MD, DDS, PhD, MPH
Program Director of Residency
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Thomas D. Luten

Thomas D. Luten, MA
Assistant Professor and Chair, Admissions Committee
Department of Dental Public Health
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Tultul Nayyar

Tultul Nayyar, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Pharmacology
School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Regina S. Offodile

Regina S. Offodile, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Skills and Competencies
Department of Professional & Medical Education
School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Chasidy Singleton

Chasidy Singleton, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery
School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Suzette Marie Stines

Suzette Marie Stines, DDS
Assistant Professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Carolyn Szetela

Carolyn Szetela, PhD
Associate Professor,
Department of Professional & Medical Education
School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Machelle Fleming Thompson

Machelle Fleming Thompson, RDH, MSPH
Associate Professor, Department of Dental Public Health
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Boris Voinov

Boris Voinov, MD
Extern, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Tawana K. Ware

Tawana K. Ware, DDS, MSD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

William N. Washington

William N. Washington, DPA, MPA, MPH, CHES
Director, Master of Science in Public Health Program
School of Graduate Studies & Research
Meharry Medical College

Consuelo H. Wilkins

Consuelo H. Wilkins, MD, MSCI
Executive Director,
Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance
Meharry Medical College

2012 – 2013 Senior Health Policy Associates

Wayne Riley

Wayne Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP
President and Chief Executive Officer
Meharry Medical College

Charles Mouton

Charles Mouton, M.D., M.S.
Dean, School of Medicine
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Meharry Medical College

Janet Southerland

Janet Southerland, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Dean, School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Maria de Fatima Lima

Maria F. Lima, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Graduate Studies & Research
Professor, Medical & Professional Education
Professor, Biomedical Sciences
Meharry Medical College

2012 – 2013 Health Policy Associates

Tony N. Brown

Tony N. Brown, Ph.D.
Assistant Chair, Department of Sociology
Associate Professor, Center for Medicine, Health, & Society
College of Arts and Sciences
Vanderbilt University

Vanisha L. Brown

Vanisha Brown, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor
Public Health Practice
School of Graduate Studies & Research
Meharry Medical College

Tyson Brown

Tyson Brown, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences
Vanderbilt University

Rhonda Cunningham-Burley

Rhonda Cunningham-Burley, Ph.D.
Director, Medical Education in Psychiatry
Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Green Ekadi

Green Ekadi, Ph.D., M.S.
Assistant Professor
Public Health Practice
School of Graduate Studies & Research
Meharry Medical College

Daphne C. Ferguson-Young

Daphne Ferguson-Young, D.D.S., M.S.P.H.
Director, General Practice Residency Program
Associate Professor, Oral Surgery
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Ethel Harris

Ethel Harris, D.D.S.
Director, Compliance & Safety, Clinical Affairs
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Corey Jones

Corey Jones, Ph.D., M.B.A, C.C.R.P.
Assistant Director for Collaborations and Partnerships,
Meharry Translational Research Center
Instructor, Department of Biochemistry & Cancer Biology
Meharry Medical College

Jacinta P. Leavell

Jacinta P. Leavell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Dental Public Health
Meharry Medical College

Monique Lyle

Monique Lyle, Ph.D., M.A.
Assistant Professor, Political Science
College of Arts and Science
Vanderbilt University

Jonathan Metzl

Jonathan Metzl, M.D., Ph.D.
Frederick B. Rentschler II Chair of Sociology & Medicine,
Director, Health, & Society
Center for Medicine,
Vanderbilt University

Andre Christie Mizell

Andre Christie Mizell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences
Vanderbilt University

Aramandla Ramesh

Aramandla Ramesh, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Peter Savelyev

Peter Savelyev, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Economics
College of Arts and Science
Vanderbilt University

Matthew Walker

Matthew Walker, III, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biotechnology
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Vanderbilt University

Jamila Williams

Jamila Williams, M.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor, Family and Community Medicine
Associate Program Director, Preventative Medicine Residency
School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

2011 – 2012 Health Policy Associates

Leah R. Alexander

Leah Alexander, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor,
School or Graduate Studies & Research
Meharry Medical College

Michelle Bruce

Michelle Bruce, M.D., M.S.P.H.
Graduate of Meharry Medical College School of Medicine
and School of Graduate Studies and Research

Zhenbang Chen

Zhenbang Chen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor,
Department of Biochemistry & Cancer Biology
Meharry Medical College

Lemuel Dent

Lemuel Dent, M.D., M.S., MSCR, FACS
Chair of Trauma and Critical Care
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
Former & Vice Chairman
Department of Surgery
Meharry Medical College

Carolyn L. Freund-Taylor

Carol L. Freund-Taylor, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Professional & Medical Education
School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Pandu Gangula

Pandu Gangula, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Physiology
Meharry Medical College

Alex Jahangir

Alex Jahangir, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation
Co-Director, Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute Center for Health Policy
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Christine Minja-Trupin

Christine Minja-Trupin, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor, School of Graduate Studies & Research
Meharry Medical College

Evelyn Patterson

Evelyn Patterson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Vanderbilt University

Manish K. Sethi

Manish K. Sethi, M.D.
Co-Director, Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute Center for Health Policy
Fellow, Division of Orthopaedic Trauma
Vanderbilt University

William L. Turner

William L. Turner, Ph.D.
Betts Professor of Education and Human Development
Professor, Community Research & Action
Professor, Human Development Counseling
Professor, Human & Organizational Development
Department of Human & Organizational Development,
Peabody College of Education & Human Development
Vanderbilt University

Flora Ukoli

Flora Ukoli, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Community Health
Department of Surgery
Meharry Medical College

The Pilot Project Mini-Grant Program is aimed at intensifying investigator-initiated research, attracting new investigators to the field, and encouraging trans-disciplinary research that will advance health disparities science and health policy.  Pilot projects will contribute to health policy and social science research and to improving minority health and/or to eliminate health disparities.

Each year the RWJF Center for Health Policy releases a request for proposals to fund up to five pilot projects for a duration of 18 months. Funding is open to eligible investigators from Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University. Pilot project proposals must be relative to health policy.

Pilot Project Mini-Grant Awardees Announced

The RWJF Center for Health Policy is pleased to announce the Pilot Project Mini-Grant Program’s 2014 recipients. Five faculty members from Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University were selected among a competitive applicant pool. This year’s slate of recipients is unique in that all investigators will have a Health Policy Fellow or Health Policy Scholar serve as a student researcher on their project. Below is the list of awardees and a description of their projects.

2014 Awardees

Assessing the impact of nutrition literacy on dietary behaviors in low-income minority groups

Sylvie A. Akohoue, PhD, CNS

Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor
Family & Community Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Award Amount: $20,000

Cheryl Onwu

Student Investigator
2013 Health Policy Scholar
First-year MSPH student,
Meharry Medical College

About this project: The proposed study is to examine the impact of nutrition literacy on dietary behaviors by conducting a cross-sectional study with 150 adults (males and females ≥ 21 years old), comprised of primarily minority residents living in  resource-poor areas of Nashville-Davidson County.

Survivorship in Women of Color: An examination of coping mechanisms for black women diagnosed with breast cancer

Laura Carpenter, PhD

Principal Investigator
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Vanderbilt University

Award Amount: $20,000

Raeshell Sweeting, MD

Co-Principal Investigator
Department of Surgery
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Kanetha Wilson, MA

Student Investigator
2011 Health Policy Fellow
Sociology doctoral student,
Vanderbilt University

About this project: This project aims to answer the call for more culturally-sensitive perspectives on the consequences of breast cancer by considering coping strategies essential to survivorship for women of color: processes of support and disease; types of social support that prove instrumental; and coping mechanisms employed to thwart identity threat from narratives from black women who have or are experiencing treatment for breast cancer.

Immigration and Chronic Disease within the U.S. Black Population: Using an Equitable Longevity Framework to explore policy implications for racial/ethnic health disparities

Daniel Cornfield, PhD

Principal Investigator
Professor
Department of Sociology
Vanderbilt University

Award Amount: $20,000

Helena E. Dagadu, MA, MPH

Student Investigator
2010 Health Policy Fellow
Sociology doctoral student,
Vanderbilt University

About this project: Historically and contemporarily, the diversity within the U.S. black population is driven by the migration (whether forced or voluntary) of blacks from the African continent. Yet, the health needs and practices of African immigrants in the U.S. remain poorly characterized. The proposed project seeks to expand the immigration and health care debates in the U.S. by comparing the chronic health experiences of immigrant and non-immigrant blacks.

Identifying intimate partner violence (IPV) to prevent re-occurences and risk of associated health disparities

Leslie R. Halpern, DDS, MD, PhD, MPH

Principal Investigator
Associate Professor, Program Director
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program,
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Award Amount: $20,000

Pandu Gangula, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator
Associate Professor
Department of Oral Biology & Research
Meharry Medical College

Daphne Ferguson-Young, DDS, MSPH

Consultant
Program Director
General Practice Residency Program,
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Charles Albury, DMD

Consultant
Assistant Professor
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery,
School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Ciera Scales

Student Investigator
2013 Health Policy Scholar
Third-year dental student,
Meharry Medical College

About this project: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant, under-diagnosed public health epidemic. Dental health professionals are often in an excellent position to recognize IPV injuries, especially when facial, neck and intra-oral injuries are involved. The objectives of this pilot project are: to provide two short questionnaires that inquire about consented clients’ source of any injury plus any current self-reported health disparities, and to request the provision of two saliva samples.

Identifying institution-specific barriers to follow-up of abnormal mammograms and implementing an institution-specific intervention to improve follow-up of abnormal mammograms

Philip Lammers, MD, MSCI

Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Award Amount: $20,000

Laila Saied Agrawal, MD

Co-Principal Investigator
Hematology/Oncology Fellow
Department of Internal Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Sydne Ford

Student Investigator
2011 Health Policy Scholar
Third-year medical student,
Meharry Medical College

About this project: African American women have a lower incidence of breast cancer compared to white women but are diagnosed at a later stage and have a disproportionally higher mortality from breast cancer. This study will evaluate the causes of delays in follow-up of abnormal mammograms at Nashville General Hospital. Following the identification of key barriers to care in this population, we will target these barriers by designing a specific comprehensive intervention (entitled “Mammogram Follow-up Plan,” or MFP) to increase the number of women with abnormal mammograms who receive timely follow-up.

2013 Awardees

Derek M. Griffith, PhD

Center for Medicine, Health & Society
Vanderbilt University

Project Title: Social Determinants of Obesogenic Behaviors of Middle-aged African American Men
Award Amount: $20,000

Robert Levine, MD

Principal Investigator
Family and Community Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Project Title: Parental Perceptions of Their Children’s Weight Status among Low-Income Hispanic Populations: Implications for Future Interventions and Policy Recommendations
Award Amount: $20,000

Maria C. Mejia de Grubb, MD, MPH

Co-Principal Investigator
Family and Community Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Project Title: Parental Perceptions of Their Children’s Weight Status among Low-Income Hispanic Populations: Implications for Future Interventions and Policy Recommendations
Award Amount: $20,000

Manish K. Sethi, MD

Orthopaedic Institute Center for Health Policy
Vanderbilt University

Project Title: School Intervention and Gun Violence, Part 2: A Proposal to Tackle the Rise of Gun Violence in Nashville
Award Amount: $40,000

Tawana Ware, DDS, MSD

School of Dentistry
Meharry Medical College

Project Title: Enhancement of Perinatal Oral Health Care through Educating Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Award Amount: $20,000

2012 Awardees

C. André Christie-Mizell, PhD

Project Title: Racial Variation in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Poverty, and the Family Context
Award Amount: $40,000

Dr. Christie-Mizell is a RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC-funded Professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University and Health Policy Associate.  His study entitled, Racial Variation in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Poverty, and the Family Context, evaluates and states that children of poor families are at higher risk for developing poor mental health and associated behavior problems (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders and antisocial behavior) compared to their non-poor counterparts.  However, despite the substantial association between poverty and children’s outcomes, how socioeconomic conditions are linked to child development and health is not well understood.  This project aims to help discover these linkages and show how they vary by race and ethnicity.

Flora A. Ukoli, MD, MPH

Project Title: Obesity Prevention in Low-Income African-American Babies and Young Children: An Early Childhood Nutrition Education Intervention with Breastfeeding Promotion Component
Award Amount: $40,000

Dr. Ukoli is a Health Policy Associate and Professor of surgery at Meharry Medical College.  The goal of her study entitled, Obesity Prevention in Low-Income African-American Babies and Young Children: An Early Childhood Nutrition Education Intervention with Breastfeeding Promotion Component, is to recommend policy changes to support mothers to prevent early childhood obesity (ECO) and eliminate social barriers for doing so. A culturally appropriate education intervention will be developed in partnership with African-American mothers to foster informed decisions about exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), delayed weaning, restriction of sweetened beverages, and transition to healthy food choices. Rationale: Increasing knowledge about underlying causes of obesity, reinforcing positive attitudes and dispelling misconceptions about breastfeeding (BF) and infant feeding, and providing strategies to achieve appropriate actions will set the foundation for childhood obesity prevention in this most high-risk and vulnerable population.

Ethel P. Harris, DDS

Project Title: Oral Health Effects on Women in Recovery and Transition
Award Amount: $20,000

Dr. Harris is a Health Policy Associate and the Interim Dean of Clinical Affairs at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry.  She also serves as Director of Compliance and Safety in the Department of Clinical Affairs and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry.  Her study entitled, Oral Health Effects on Women in Recovery and Transition, proposes to describe the social and professional impact of poor oral health among women in recovery and transition.  The poverty and lack of attention to health care that results from substance abuse and addiction is very apparent when focusing on oral health among populations experiencing high rates of addiction.  Methamphetamine mouth (meth mouth) is an extreme form of poor oral health.  The combination of methamphetamine use and poor oral health increases the risk of low birth rate outcomes and many physical health problems including cardiac issues.  Substance abuse has also been associated with low income and homelessness or marginalized housing.  Further, addiction history, homelessness and poverty affect social supports and self-esteem.  A qualitative method will be used to gather data from women who have had dental reconstruction and those who have not.

Ethel P. Harris, DDS

Project Title: Oral Health Effects on Women in Recovery and Transition
Award Amount: $20,000

Dr. Harris is a Health Policy Associate and the Interim Dean of Clinical Affairs at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry.  She also serves as Director of Compliance and Safety in the Department of Clinical Affairs and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry.  Her study entitled, Oral Health Effects on Women in Recovery and Transition, proposes to describe the social and professional impact of poor oral health among women in recovery and transition.  The poverty and lack of attention to health care that results from substance abuse and addiction is very apparent when focusing on oral health among populations experiencing high rates of addiction.  Methamphetamine mouth (meth mouth) is an extreme form of poor oral health.  The combination of methamphetamine use and poor oral health increases the risk of low birth rate outcomes and many physical health problems including cardiac issues.  Substance abuse has also been associated with low income and homelessness or marginalized housing.  Further, addiction history, homelessness and poverty affect social supports and self-esteem.  A qualitative method will be used to gather data from women who have had dental reconstruction and those who have not.

Jacinta P. Leavell, PhD

Project Title: Factors Influencing Barriers to Accessing Oral Healthcare by Immigrants in the Metropolitan Nashville Area
Award Amount: $20,000

Dr. Leavell is a Health Policy Associate and an Associate Professor of Dental Public Health at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry.  Her study entitled, Factors Influencing Barriers to Accessing Oral Healthcare by Immigrants in the Metropolitan Nashville Area, proposes to establish pertinent preliminary data needed for the implementation of appropriate oral health care services for immigrants.  The United States has experienced significant growth in the immigrant population during the past 15 years.  As a result, some key challenges specifically related to oral health care have been created.  This project intends to evaluate factors influencing barriers to accessing oral health care by immigrants in the metropolitan Nashville, Tennessee area.  The main goal of the project is to provide a foundation for understanding the association between barriers and the accessing of oral health care by immigrants.  The intended project would further allow Meharry’s School of Dentistry to obtain an advantage in developing alliances with the community that can engender appropriate oral health care services for immigrants residing in the Nashville area.  Due to the lack of appropriate formalized dental services in some immigrants’ birth countries, they sometimes present with some very unique dental problems that go untreated for a long time.  The long-term goal is to increase the number of immigrant individuals accessing oral health care in Metropolitan Nashville.  More specifically, the project will (1) determine the barriers encountered by immigrants while attempting to access oral health services and (2) delineate the factors related to those barriers.

Jonathan M. Metzl, MD, PhD

Project Title: Masculinity, Race, and the Politics of American Men’s Health
Policy Award Amount: $20,000

Dr. Metzl is the Director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University, a Health Policy Associate, and the Frederick B. Rentschler II Endowed Professor for the Department of Sociology and Center for Medicine, Health, and Society.  He also serves as a Professor for the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt.  His study entitled, Masculinity, Race, and the Politics of American Men’s Health Policy, presents a multi-layered analysis of the contemporary politics of men’s health.  Working with men from the Nashville, Tennessee and Detroit areas, the project proposes to explore the diversity of contemporary American cultural narratives regarding masculinity, manhood and men’s health and compare how race, implicit ideological and cultural attitudes, age, and socioeconomic status shape notions of masculinity and health, particularly for working-class men.

2011 Awardees

Walter Owens, DDS

Project Title: Bringing Attention to Minority Oral Health

Keydron K. Guinn, PhD

Project Title: Bringing Attention to Minority Oral Health

Dr. Walter R. Owens is an Assistant Professor and Associate Dean for external affairs in the School of Dentistry at Meharry Medical College. Dr. Keydron K. Guinn is an Assistant Professor in the School of Graduate Studies and Research at Meharry Medical College. He is also the Deputy Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry. Their pilot project, Bringing Attention to Minority Oral Health, is derived from the collaboration between the School of Dentistry at Meharry Medical College, the National Dental Association and the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry.  The project’s main purpose will be to develop a quantitative survey instrument that can be used by researchers around the country to collect data on minority dentists and their patients.  Focus groups will be conducted in order to import the voices of minority dentists opposed to a reliance on existing knowledge and information that may not necessarily apply to these groups.  Additionally, academic articles will be published using data collected for the development of the quantitative survey instrument.

Evelyn Patterson, PhD

Project Title: Prisons, Health, and Population Dynamics

Dr. Evelyn Patterson is a Health Policy Associate of the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry and Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Patterson’s proposal affirms that the United States has the highest incarceration rate of any nation. Persons of color and of lower socioeconomic status are disproportionately incarcerated. As the experience of incarceration does not end once one exits the prison doors, prison can alter one’s social, economic, and health trajectories.  Her study,Prisons, Health, and Population Dynamics, seeks to provide a tool that enables the assessment of the short and long term consequences of changes in incarceration policies.

Manish Sethi, MD

Project Title: School Intervention and Gun Violence: A Proposal to Tackle the Rise of Gun Violence in the African-American Community in Davidson County, Tennessee

Alex Jahangir, MD

Project Title: School Intervention and Gun Violence: A Proposal to Tackle the Rise of Gun Violence in the African-American Community in Davidson County, Tennessee

Dr. Manish Sethi and Dr. Alex Jahangir both are Health Policy Associates of the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry, and Co-directors of the Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute Center for Health Policy.  Dr. Sethi is a Fellow in the Division of Orthopaedic Trauma at Vanderbilt University.  Dr. Jahangir is an Assistant Professor of orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he practices as an orthopaedic trauma surgeon.  Both will serve as Co-principal Investigators for their pilot project, School Intervention and Gun Violence: A Proposal to Tackle the Rise of Gun Violence in the African-American Community in Davidson County, Tennessee. In a recent retrospective cohort study of 343,866 Vanderbilt University emergency room patients, the Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute Center for Health Policy has determined that African-American patients between the ages of 18-25 presenting to the Vanderbilt ER are 3.3 times more likely to present with gunshot injuries as compared to their white counterparts.  The pilot project mini-grant will allow for development of an effective gun violence education curriculum, which ultimately, through support of the Davidson County school system and potential additional future funding, will be introduced to youth across Davidson County with metrics for evaluation of success.

Machelle Fleming Thompson, RDH, MSPH

Project Title: An Interprofessional Educational Approach to Increasing Access to Health Services for African-American Women at Risk for Preterm Low Birth Weight Babies

Dr. Machelle Fleming Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dental Public Health at Meharry Medical College.  Her pilot project, An Interprofessional Educational Approach to Increasing Access to Health Services for African American Women at Risk for Preterm Low Birth Weight Babies, proposes to increase access to health services and reduce the number of preterm and low birth weight babies, using an interprofessional educational approach, by improving oral health among African-American women in Davidson County.  In the United States, people of color represent one-third of the total population, yet they comprise more than fifty percent of the uninsured.  Her project seeks to improve access to quality oral health care through collaboration with Meharry’s School of Dentistry, The Center for Women’s Health at Meharry, Matthew Walker Community Health Center and the March of Dimes-Nashville.  Data collected from 150 African-American women patients and their health care providers will be analyzed to recommend policy changes that will positively impact pregnancy and the oral health outcomes of African-American women.

William L. Turner, PhD

Project Title: Difficult Pasts, Uncertain Futures: An Ethnographic Exploration into the Experiences of HIV-Positive Individuals After Their Release from Prison

Christine Minja-Trupin, PhD, MPH

Project Title: Difficult Pasts, Uncertain Futures: An Ethnographic Exploration into the Experiences of HIV-Positive Individuals After Their Release from Prison

Dr. William Lofton Turner and Dr. Christine Minja-Trupin are both Health Policy Associates of the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry. Dr. Turner is a Betts Professor of Education and Human Development, Professor of Community Research and Action, Professor of Human Development Counseling, Professor of Human and Organizational Development, and Director of the Health and Human Services Undergraduate Major in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Minja-Trupin is an Assistant Professor in the School of Graduate Studies and Research at Meharry Medical College.  Working together as Co-principal investigators, their project, Difficult Pasts, Uncertain Futures: An Ethnographic Exploration into the Experiences of HIV-Positive Individuals After Their Release from Prison, centers around an ethnographic exploration of the experiences of African-American HIV-positive individuals after their release from prison. The proposed research is a unique contribution to the literature in that the specific implications of prison post-release HIV-positive individuals has not been previously explored. African-American populations are particularly impacted by both HIV and incarceration. Understanding the realities associated with the post-prison experience, the challenges specific to HIV-positive populations, and the impact these challenges have on their health, will have important practice and policy implications.

Tyson Brown, PhD

Project Title: The Intersection of Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Class on Chronic Disease and Disability Trajectories

Tyson Brown, PhD is a RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry funded Assistant Professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University.  His study, The Intersection of Race/Ethnicity, Gender and Class on Chronic Disease and Disability Trajectories, integrates life course and intersectionality perspectives to examine the joint and simultaneous impacts of race/ethnicity, gender and social class on health trajectories. First, the study investigates how age-trajectories of chronic conditions and disability vary between white, black and Mexican-American men and women. Do race/ethnicity, gender and class combine in an additive or multiplicative fashion to shape health trajectories?  Do health inequalities increase, remain stable or decrease with age? Second, the study examines whether patterns of health inequality are explained by racial/ethnic/gender differences in childhood and adult socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and health care access and utilization. Findings from this study will provide health policy-relevant information for improving health among vulnerable groups and eliminating health disparities.

Andre Christie Mizell, PhD

Project Title: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental and Physical Health Outcomes for Children and Adolescents in Foster Care

Andre Christie-Mizell, PhD is a RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry funded Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University.  His study, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental and Physical Health Outcomes for Children and Adolescents in Foster Care, utilizes the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (n ≈ 5,500), a nationally representative sample of children in the foster care system, to assess the mental and physical health outcomes of children in foster care. This proposed research includes four specific aims. With regard to these aims, one central goal of the proposed research is to investigate how relationships vary by race/ethnicity for African-American, Latino, and white youth.  Aim 1) determine whether types of foster care placement (i.e., kinship versus non-kinship) serves as a protective factor against mental and emotional health problems. Aim 2) determine whether types of foster care placement (i.e., kinship versus non-kinship) serves as a protective factor against physical health problems. Aim 3) understand whether resources (financial, social, and human capital) within the foster family moderate the effect of foster care placement on (a) mental and (b) physical health. Aim 4) understand whether and how neighborhood resources available to the child moderate the effects of foster care placement on (a) mental and (b) physical health.

Monique Lyle, PhD, MA

Project Title: The Role of Politics in the Stigmatization of Mental Illness:
Interactions with Race

Monique Lyle, PhD is a former RWJF Health Policy Scholar and Assistant Professor of political science at Vanderbilt University.  Her study, The Role of Politics in the Stigmatization of Mental Illness: Interactions with Race, examines the roles that American government and politics and race might play in mitigating or exacerbating stigma toward individuals who suffer from mental illnesses.  The study uses a nationally representative sample, with an oversample of African Americans, to replicate an experiment previously conducted by Dr. Lyle, which used contemporary mental health politics to examine how three political mechanisms—rhetoric from political elites, legislation, and government reports—might affect the extent to which people hold stigmatizing attitudes toward individuals with mental illness.  The study also examines whether African Americans are more or less likely than white Americans to change their attitudes about mental illness in response to information attributed to these political mechanisms, and whether the effect of information attributed to these political mechanisms on stigmatizing attitudes varies depending on the race of the mentally ill person being evaluated.

Flora A. Ukoli, MD. MPH


Project Title: Infant Feeding Pattern and Childhood Obesity in Low-Income Minority Populations: Implications for Infant Nutrition and Breast Feeding Policy Recommendations

Flora Ukoli, MD, MPH is a Professor of surgery at Meharry Medical College.  Her study, Infant Feeding Pattern and Childhood Obesity in Low-Income Minority Populations: Implications for Infant Nutrition and Breast Feeding Policy Recommendations, investigates the association between infant weight gain, nutrition, and breastfeeding pattern among African Americans by reviewing 200 records of preschool children born at Nashville General Hospital between 2005-2007. Childhood obesity among African Americans will be assessed by surveying sixty mothers and collecting information about their knowledge and attitudes to infant nutrition and breastfeeding. A fifteen-person community advisory board will be constituted to utilize the information collected to develop a culturally appropriate education intervention to protect, promote, and support breast feeding using the “Baby Friendly” Hospital Initiative model. The primary goal is to empower mothers to make informed decisions about breast feeding, prevent rapid weight gain in infancy, enhance maternal and child health and reduce childhood obesity in the long-term. This education intervention will be pilot tested in sixty pregnant African Americans, and provide data to recommend policy changes that will actively promote breast feeding in African-American populations that are at disparity risk for childhood obesity.

Richard White III, MD


Project Title: Addressing Health Communication and Health Literacy in Latino Adults with Diabetes

Richard White III, MD is an Assistant Professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at Meharry Medical College.  His study, Addressing Health Communication and HealthLiteracy in Latino Adults with Diabetes,  includes the immediate goals of completing the pilot testing of a literacy-sensitive educational toolkit—DLNET_Latino—and begins to examine the quality of health communication between Latino diabetes patients, providers, and Spanish interpreters.  To meet these goals, the PI had proposed the following aims: 1) recruit thirty adult Latino diabetes patients and expose them to the content of a literacy-sensitive educational toolkit in efforts to examine the clarity, usefulness, and feasibility of improving self-management behaviors and self-efficacy for diabetes care, and 2) recruit twenty-five Latino diabetes patients from an existing cluster RCT addressing health literacy and diabetes care in the Tennessee state health department safety net clinic system: the study will test the feasibility of digital audio taping clinical encounters, with descriptive analysis of the quality of communication between providers and patients with particular focus on the role of the Spanish medical interpreter.  These projects will provide important insights into the nature of health communication with Latinos, and the role of Spanish interpreters in the process.

The Health Policy Social Events Program gives Health Policy Fellows and Scholars the opportunity to participate in activities and events to network across disciplines, departments, and institutions, thus promoting collaboration and building mutually beneficial relationships.

 

Past events sponsored by the Center have included a Health Policy Mixer, an Alumni Luncheon featuring a talk by former Health Policy Scholars, a Commencement Celebration for graduating students, a Holiday Party, and social gatherings at local comedy venues and restaurants.

The RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC Health Policy Alumni Program allows graduates of the Health Policy Scholars Program and the Health Policy Fellows Program to continue to work with the center on policy initiatives to improve the health and healthcare of minority and underserved communities.  The alumni program also provides opportunities for career development and advancement in health policy.

  • Alumni will be encouraged to join the RWJF Alumni Network, a place to connect and collaborate with the more than 2,300 distinguished professionals who have participated in and graduated from the foundation’s scholars, fellows and leadership programs since the 1970s.
  • Alumni will be invited each fall to the MMC-Vanderbilt Partnership Reception in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Alumni will be encouraged to convene each spring at the Annual Health Policy Alumni Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Select alumni will be encouraged to convene each year at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (locale changes each year) in order to engage in health policy and social science research initiatives with current scholars and fellows of the MMC-RWJF CHP Student Chapter of AcademyHealth.
  • Alumni will be able to publish blogs and articles on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry websites.
  • Alumni will receive a RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry newsletter that details current issues in health care and health policy and other pertinent information.

 

Career Development

Select alumni will have some access to a variety of professional development opportunities.

  • Media Training Institute – The University of New Mexico RWJF Center for Health Policy Institute provides information and tools necessary to effectively market research and policy findings to various forms of media including print, radio, and television.  This institute meets every other year in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Finding Answers Annual Grantee Conference – Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change is a national program of RWJF that administers a grants program that discovers and evaluates practical and replicable solutions for racial health disparities; conducts reviews of existing health care intervention literature; and, provides health care systems with evidence-based best practices, practical tools and resources to address racial and ethnic inequities within their own organizations. This conference meets annually at the University of Chicago.
  • Career Development Seminar Series – The RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry’s Health Policy Professional Development Program is an ongoing career development seminar series that covers topics ranging from creating effective curriculum vitae to maximizing the interview.

 

Career Advancement

Alumni will be prepared to apply to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s many exemplary national programs including:

 

Research Skill Development

Select alumni will have some access to a variety of research skill and mentorship opportunities.