NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Thomas Brady Ruffin, M.P.S., recently joined the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance (MVA) as a program manager, leading external communications while supporting Dr. Karen Winkfield’s, executive director of the MVA, strategic vision. Ruffin is an experienced leader in community engagement, strategic communications, community-based research, media relations, and issue advocacy at the local, state, and national levels.
Public Service and Engagement Background
A native of Mississippi, Ruffin graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications with a minor in Public Policy. He then attended the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service where he received his Master of Public Service (M.P.S.).
“Attending the Clinton School of Public Service granted me the opportunity to understand the fundamentals of intentional community engagement while providing me the space to learn, serve, and grow as a public servant," Ruffin stated.
In 2018, Ruffin was honored as the first male McLarty Scholar with the Vital Voices Global Partnership in Washington, D.C. As a McLarty Scholar, Ruffin was a research and data analyst, performing a social network analysis of the Vital Voices network and implementing a new virtual framework for the women empowerment NGO’s contribution mapping research.
Impacting the Nashville Community
Ruffin moved to Nashville in 2019 to serve as the Director of Research and Policy at Cooley Public Strategies, a public affairs firm specializing in community engagement, healthcare, and environmental work. While at CPS, Ruffin led all research and policy initiatives for clients across multiple sectors while catalyzing partnerships with an array of organizations across Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
“I consider myself particularly lucky to work with a wide variety of impactful Nashville organizations… Nashville has a palpable energy that can only be attributed to the diversity, resiliency, and resolve of the community here... and I am so thankful to be a part of this vibrant community,” Ruffin said.
In the Nashville community, Ruffin serves on the Board of Directors for Nashville Pride and was selected as a member of Nashville Young Leaders Council (Class 78). Ruffin also serves as the Chair of the Clinton School of Public Service Alumni Board.
Continued Community Engagement at MVA
In 2022, Ruffin took a leap of faith to explore professional opportunities in equity-centric spaces. After conversations with Dr. Winkfield and members of the MVA team, Ruffin was confident that the MVA was the right fit for him.
“The MVA has been a pillar in Nashville since 1999," Ruffin states. "I look forward to working with Dr. Winkfield and the entire MVA team as we continue to serve as a resource to our community partners and build intentional bridges to eliminate health disparities in underserved communities."
Ruffin will be working closely with the MVA team to lead communications, build sustainable relationships with community partners, and support Dr. Winkfield's vision of advancing inter-institutional collaborations, enhancing high-impact translational research, and supporting inter-professional learning and community engagement.
About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance:
The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance is a collaborative initiative between Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Since 1999, faculty, researchers, health professionals, students, and community members have worked with the MVA to address health disparities. The MVA is committed to cultivating strategic partnerships, building community capacity, and facilitating research and learning opportunities. We seek to promote resources and assets that strengthen connections between our institutions, partners, and the populations they serve.