Hughes lecture

Policy Center Notes November/December 2012

Scholar Spotlight


For the third straight year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College will host the 2013 National Scholars’ Current Issues in Health Policy Seminar Series throughout the spring semester. As the signature course for Health Policy Fellows and Scholars, the seminar series familiarizes students 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.

Audience members can expect to hear from the nation’s most prominent health policy and social science experts, lecturing on provocative health and health policy issues such as federal health care reform and child health policy.

National Scholars scheduled to lecture are: James Blumstein, MA, LLB, Vanderbilt University Professor of Law (January 9); Kavita Patel, MD, MS, Managing Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Brookings Institution (January 23); Gail C. Christopher, DN, Vice President of Program Strategy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation (February 6); Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, Chief Executive Officer of AcademyHealth (February 20); Anne C. Beal, MD, MPH, Chief Operation Officer of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (March 6); Julianne Malveaux, PhD, renowned economist, author, and columnist (March 20); Gordon H. DeFriese, PhD, Professor of Social Medicine and Epidemiology Emeritus at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (April 3); and Paula D. McClain, PhD, Dean and Vice Provost of Graduate Education at Duke University (April 17). This year’s lineup is sure to be a crowd pleaser, as these National Scholars bring a broad range of ideas from the academic, research, and health policy arenas.

Past National Scholars have included Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, MD; David Williams, PhD, of Harvard University School of Public Health; and Dora Hughes, MD, MPH, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The lectures are held in the S.S. Kresge Learning Resource Center on Meharry’s campus from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with complimentary lunch preceding the lecture. These lectures are free and open to the entire Meharry community and the general public. For a detailed list of 2013 National Scholars, visit:

Dr. Daniel HowardDIRECTOR’S DESK
from Daniel L. Howard Ph.D., Executive Director,
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College

The Center recently welcomed our National Advisory Board (NAB) for their second meeting at Vanderbilt University. We shared news of the outstanding work our affiliated faculty, students, and staff have accomplished during the Center’s third year. Highlights include several new course selections for Health Policy Scholars and Fellows as well as our first successful Summer Institute on Health Policy.

The NAB boasts some of the nation’s most prominent leaders in health policy and research, offering unparalleled guidance and expertise. The Board 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. I invite you to visit our website to learn more about NAB’s 12 esteemed national leaders: James F. Blumstein, MA, LLB, Timothy Carey, MD, MPH, Sheldon H. Danziger, PhD, Lisa Dubay, PhD, ScM, the Honorable William H. Frist, MD, Darrell J. Gaskin, PhD, James Jackson, PhD, Thomas A. LaVeist, PhD, Paula D. McClain, PhD, Melvin L. Oliver, PhD, Frank Sloan, PhD, and Brian D. Smedley, PhD.

We’re thrilled to announce that NAB members James Blumstein and Paula McClain will speak during the 2013 National Scholars’ Lecture Series. Blumstein and McClain will be joined by noted policy experts Kavita Patel, MD, MS, Gail C. Christopher, DN, Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, Anne C. Beal, MD, MPH, Julianne Malveaux, PhD and Gordon H. DeFriese, PhD. Last year’s lectures were engaging and insightful, and the 2013 lectures promise to meet the same high standards.

In the meantime, visit the Foundation’s Human Capital Blog to read about my experience at the 140th American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting. I had the honor of being chosen to conduct a presentation on mental health in African American faith-based communities. Historically, research has shown that African Americans are less likely to seek mental health treatment than their Caucasian counterparts. Including this as a topic of significance in APHA’s annual meeting is a great step in the right direction.


The Center for Health Policy’s Fellows, Scholars, and Associates are a dynamic group of students and faculty from Meharry and Vanderbilt who explore health policy as it relates to their research interests.

Italo Brown, MPHItalo Brown, MPH, 2012-13 recipient of the Gabriel F. and Harriett B. Lefebvre Endowed Memorial Scholarship, is a second-year student in Meharry’s School of Medicine, and previously completed a Meharry post-baccalaureate program. A Sacramento, California native and Morehouse College graduate (B.S. in biology), he received a Master of Public Health with dual concentrations in epidemiology and social and behavioral sciences from the Boston University School of Public Health where he worked with the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition (MCCCC) to launch the first-ever Massachusetts Cancer Survivorship Summit.

Maria C. Mehjia de Grubb, MD, MPHMaria C. Mejia de Grubb, MD, MPH, a Medellin, Colombia native and second-year preventive medicine resident at Meharry, received a $4,000 nine-month mini-grant from the CDC-sponsored American Psychological Association Socioeconomic Status Related Cancer Disparities Program (SESRCD). Her project, “Training Resident Physicians to Address Cancer-Related Health Disparities,” develops an educational module targeting primary care and preventive medicine physicians, introducing evidence-based practical strategies in minority-population cancer care and providing basic knowledge in addressing cancer-related health disparities.

Nadia WinstonNadia Winston was awarded the Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship ($5,000) from the Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). The annual scholarship is for minorities enrolled in their final year of a healthcare management graduate program. Ms. Winston, a second-year student in Meharry’s Master of Science in Public Health program, earned a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Rhodes College. She hopes to become a nurse practitioner.



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.


Vanderbilt University, in collaboration with Meharry Medical College, accepts qualified applicants to one of their PhD programs in economics, political science, and sociology. Accepted PhD candidates will earn a doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University while participating in additional coursework, seminars and research activities at Meharry Medical College.

Accepted PhD candidates will receive a generous five-year funding package which includes: paid tuition; department-based stipend of $17,500 per academic year; supplemental participation stipend of $10,000 per academic year; summer funding of $4,500 per summer period; and health insurance.

Application Deadline

  • The application deadline for fall semester 2013 admission is January 15, 2013.
  • All application materials should be submitted online at:
  • Please mention in the application “statement of interest” that you wish to be considered for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows Program at Meharry Medical College.

Please visit and to learn more about these institutions.


Social Dynamics of Mental Health—Instructor: C. André Christie-Mizell, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University

Society and Medicine—Instructor: Tyson Brown, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University.