As the Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, a strategic partnership between Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, my primary responsibilities include developing and supporting collaborative initiatives and programs in biomedical research, community engagement and interprofessional learning. I hold appointments as Associate Professor of Medicine at both Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College. As co-director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Community-Engaged Research Core in the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, I bring together academic researchers and community members to improve community health and healthcare through community-engaged research. I am widely recognized for my work in stakeholder engagement, and I am Principal Investigator of a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Research Award focused on Improving Patient Engagement and Understanding its Impact on Research.
My prior research has focused on understanding the complex intersection between cognitive impairment, frailty and depression. Prior to joining the faculty at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2012, I was an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, with secondary appointments in Psychiatry and Surgery (Public Health Sciences) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. I served as Founding Director of the Center for Community Health and Partnerships in the Institute for Public Health, co-director of the Center for Community Engaged Research in the CTSA, and director of "Our Community, Our Health"- a collaborative program with Saint Louis University to disseminate culturally relevant health information and facilitate community-academic partnerships to address health disparities.
I serve on numerous national committees and boards including the CTSA Consortium Collaboration/Engagement Domain Task Force (Lead Team), PCORI Advisory Panel on Clinical Trials Subcommittee on Recruitment, Accrual, and Retention, PCORnet Patient and Consumer Engagement Task Force (co-chair), and the NIA Task Force for Diversity in Scholar Development in Aging/Neurocognitive Disease and Research Recruitment.
I earned a Bachelor of Science in microbiology (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a Doctor of Medicine from Howard University. I completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Duke University Medical Center and a Geriatric Medicine fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Following medical training, I earned a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from Washington University School of Medicine.