Reception 2013

News and Events

March 2015

'Obesity' and 'Career Development' Among Papers Being Presented at Xavier University Health Disparities Conference

February 2015

Dates Announced for 2015 Summer Institute on Health Policy

Health Policy Scholar Christopher Watson Heads to Ghana as GE-National Medical Fellow

Scholars Attend AcademyHealth Health Policy Conference in D.C.

January 2015

Health Policy Scholar Courtney Thomas Accepts New Positions

December 2014

New National Advisory Board Members Announced

Health Policy Scholar Publishes Paper in the Journal of Immigrant Minority Health

November 2014

Tenncare Director Tries to Thread Needle on Medicaid Expansion During Visit to Meharry

Health Policy Scholar Blogs on 'Unconscious Bias'

October 2014

Scholars Rack Up Awards at 139th Fall Convocation

September 2014

Health Policy Scholar Raves About Summer Externship in The ACP Advocate

Health Policy Scholar Awarded Distinguished NIH Fellowship

August 2014

Fellows Present Research at ASA Annual Meeting

Former Health Policy Scholar on C-SPAN

National Scholars' Current Issues in Health Policy Lecture Series
Fall 2014 Lineup Announced

VA Releases Health Equity Supplement

Fellows and Scholars Selected for Nationwide Summer Externships

May 13, 2014--Eight Health Policy Fellows and Scholars were chosen to participate in summer externships at some of the nation’s top health policy organizations and intuitions. Over the course of eight weeks, these students will gain real-world research skills and will have the opportunity to see health policy in action. Cheryl Onwu, Ballington Kinlock, Kanetha Wilson and Erika Leslie will spend their summer in Baltimore at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Disparities Solutions, led by the Center’s National Advisory Board Chair Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D. Timothy Guinn and Kelly Harris will be located in Bethesda, Md., at the National Institutes of Health. Rachel Cooper will be an extern at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Damien Cuffie will serve at the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College.

Scholars Blog for National Minority Health Month

May 13, 2014--The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) hosted a blog series on its Human Capital Blog in celebration of National Minority Health Month held every April. Four of our very own Health Policy Scholars participated in this blog seriesItalo Brown, Cheryl Onwu, Jamar Slocum and Adrian Ware. Read more >

Graduating Scholars Match into Residency Programs on National Match Day

May 13, 2014--Congratulations to three of the Center for Health Policy’s graduating Scholars whose journey to becoming a physician became one step shorter. On May 17, 2014, fourth-year medical students Cheryl Chun, Letitia Lyons, and Roxanne Rich will graduate with a Doctor of Medicine degree and move on to residency programs across the country. Chun will enter a pediatric residency program at Children's National in Washington, D.C., specializing in their Community Health Track, which integrates health policy and public health into treating underserved patients. Lyons will do her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. Rich will relocate to Indianapolis, Ind. to enter the pediatric residency program at the Indiana University School of Medicine.


June 16 - 27, 2014 | Meharry Medical College | Cost: Free

Register here >


All Scholars and Fellows are invited!

Thursday, March 13, 2014 | 5:30 - 7:00 PM | Clay Simpson Bldg.

Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to


 Writing Collaborative 2014


 National Scholars 2014


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Human Capital Network is hosting a live online chat, "Translating Your Work for Important Audiences: How to Make Your Point with Policy-Makers, the Media, and Other Influencers." The live chat takes place on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time.

Learn from the experts how to succinctly and accurately discuss your work with the media, policy-makers, and other potential supporters. There will also be a Q&A session.

Presenters include:

Register for the live chat here.

After you've registered, phone and Web conferencing information will be emailed to you.

Join the conversation via Twitter by following @RWJF_HumanCap and using #RWJF.

To submit a question for our presenters in advance, please email it to

Questions? Email RWJF Human Capital Network Community Manager, Sue Stine, at or call (240) 221-4316.


Italo BrownNovember 12, 2013 - November has proven to be a great month for Health Policy Scholar Italo Brown, MPH. The third-year medical student has been busy racking up awards from organizations such as the American Public Health Association (APHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). Brown was selected as one of five honorable mentions for the 2013 Student Health Activist Award presented at the APHA Annual Meeting, Nov 2-6 in Boston. This award recognizes a student who has demonstrated passion and achievement in the pursuit of social justice and health equity. He was nominated for advocacy and activism in support of Medicaid expansion, childhood obesity legislation and access to health care services for uninsured Tennesseans. Read more >

Brown, along with a team of Meharry medical students, produced a video that placed 2nd in the AAMC "Light-years Beyond Flexner: Academic Medicine in 2033" competition. Winners were announced on November 5, 2013 at Learn, Serve, Lead: The AAMC 2013 Annual Meeting held in Philadelphia. Watch the award-winning video here >

In addition to these top honors, Brown most recently was awarded a travel grant to participate in the 2013 AMSA Pharmaceutical Policy and Leadership in Medicine Institute, held November 8-10, 2013 in Sterling, Virginia. Read more on this award here >

Congratulations, Italo!


Thomas LaVeistThe RWJF Center for Health Policy congratulates its National Advisory Board Chairman, Thomas A. LaVeist, PhD, on being elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. In addition to serving as board chairman and visiting professor at the Center, LaVeist is the William C. and Nancy F. Richardson Professor in Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and founding director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions. LaVeist's research focuses on understanding health disparities, such as the racial health gap in infant mortality rates, as well as the impact of socio-economic status on health outcomes.

Read the full story here.

FAMILY MEDICINE: Health Policy Scholar Reflects on National Match Day Residency Decision

Saint HilaireLamercie Saint-Hilaire is a graduating RWJF Health Policy Scholar, who will receive a Doctor of Medicine degree and Certificate in Health Policy on May 18th during the 138th Commencement Exercises. During National Match Day-held March 15 of this year-Saint-Hilaire learned that she matched in Family Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco, the number one ranked residency program in family medicine. Saint-Hilaire, along with 88 Meharry medical school seniors, anxiously awaited the announcement as part of an annual tradition when fourth-year medical students across the country learn where they will live and train as medical residents.

The Center for Health Policy caught up with Ms. Saint-Hilaire to chat about her match day experience and what lies ahead for her as a physician. Click here to read the complete interview.


The April - June 2013 online issue of Policy Center Notes, the Center's quarterly publication, is now available. Policy Center Notes features the achievements and scholarly works of Fellows, Scholars and Associates, shares the latest health policy news and highlights various programs and activities sponsored by the Center.

In this issue, we spotlight Health Policy Doctoral Fellows Taylor Hargrove and Courtney Thomas and their research on racial health inequality, as well as broadcast the 2013 Summer Institute on Health Policy.

Click here to read the entire issue.


Congratulations to RWJF Health Policy Scholars Ballington Kinlock, Irwine Sainvil, LaKeisha Tillery, and Tulani Washington-Plaskett, who all took home top prizes at the 57th Annual Student Research Day at Meharry Medical College on March 13, 2013.

Ballington Kinlock won the 1st Place prize in the category for senior level biomedical Ph.D. students after presenting his work entitled, "Transmission of HIV-1 across the mucosal vaginal epithelial layer utilizes the Rab-11 dependent recycling endosomal pathway and can be influenced by the sex hormone progesterone."

Irwine Sainvil won 3rd Place among dental students for "Readability of informed consent documents for limited literacy of minority populations."

Lakeisha Tillery, a doctoral student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, won 2nd Place for her research poster titled, "Protease-activated receptor-3 signals independent of protease-activated receptor-1 to regulate endothelial nitric oxide synthase in human edothelial cells."

Tulani Washington-Plaskett won 1st Place in the category for Medical Research for her abstract titled, "Race differences in the age at diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases."


Sen. Bill FristApril 30, 2013 - Senator William H. Frist, MD, a member of the Center's National Advisory Board and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, recently published an op-ed in the Washington Post on the release of the bipartisan report related to increasing value and controlling healthcare costs. The article, titled "How to build a better health-care system," uniquely brings together policy and budget communities.

Click here to read the article.


Dr. Manish SethiMarch 8, 2013 - Health Policy Associate Manish K. Sethi, M.D., was featured in a USA Today article published this week for his 2012 study on gun violence. The article is part of "Gunfight in America," about America's ongoing debate on gun control. Dr. Sethi has garnered national attention for his pilot project study, sponsored by the RWJF Center for Health Policy, and has been featured by The Tennessean, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Dr. Sethi is a trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and co-director of the Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute Center for Health Policy. Click here to read the article.

Former Health Policy Scholars Chat about Life After Graduation

Tuesday, April 9, 2013
11:30 a.m. Lunch
12:00 p.m. Discussion
RWJF Center for Health Policy | Clay Simpson Bldg. | 1st Floor Classroom

Guest Panel:
Naa Amponsah, MSPHNaa Amponsah, MSPH
Senior Editorial Assistant
Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved Meharry Medical College


Dr. Asher TurneyAsher Turney, MD, MBA, MSPH
Choice Medicine | Toney, Alabama



More information: Contact Ayesha Keller -


November 19, 2012—The RWJF Center for Health Policy held its second National Advisory Board (NAB) meeting on November 14 – 15, 2012 on the campus of Vanderbilt University, sharing with the Board the outstanding work that affiliated faculty, students, and staff have accomplished during the Center's third year. A slate of new course selections for Health Policy Scholars and Fellows was also reported as well as the success of the Center's first Summer Institute on Health Policy.

The National Advisory Board (NAB) consists of the most prominent national leaders in health policy and research as well as established national scholars within the disciplines of economics, sociology, and political science whose central role is to provide an outside expert evaluation of the Center's progress.  Additionally, the NAB provides advice and counsel in the development and implementation of the Center's strategic plan; assists in identifying opportunities for furthering the development of the Center; and promotes the Center's affiliated Health Policy Fellows and Scholars. Click here to view a list of our NAB members and to learn more about these twelve esteemed national leaders.


Dr. Lisa DubayNovember 7, 2012—The RWJF Center for Health Policy is pleased to introduce Lisa Dubay, PhD, ScM as the newest member of our National Advisory Board. Dr. Dubay joins us from the Urban Institute, where she serves as a senior fellow for the Health Policy Center.

Dr. Dubay recently returned to the Urban Institute after being an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a special advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Dr. Dubay brings a wealth of health policy expertise to the NAB.  She is a nationally recognized expert on the Medicaid and CHIP programs. She is a health services researcher who has focused on evaluating the effects of public policies on access to care, health care utilization, health outcomes and health insurance coverage using quasi-experimental designs. Dr. Dubay's evaluation work has included assessing the impacts of expansions in public health insurance programs for children, pregnant women and adults for federal agencies and major foundations. She has also assessed the impact of the movement to Medicaid managed care on access to care and health outcomes. Her early work focused evaluating the impact of Medicaid nursing home reimbursement strategies on quality of care and health outcomes of residents and of Medicare's hospital prospective payment system on hospital, nursing home and home health use under Medicaid and Medicare. Dr. Dubay developed the Health Policy Center's Medicaid eligibility simulation model, which she has used to produce estimates of eligible but uninsured children and participation rates in Medicaid and CHIP.