The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance (MVA) is pleased to welcome Dr. Calandra Whitted, DrPH to the MVA team. Dr. Whitted joins the MVA as a Senior Social Scientist, primarily focusing on the coordination of community-based health equity research, engagement, and outreach within the Meharry-Vanderbilt-Tennessee State University Cancer Partnership (MVTCP).
“I am looking forward to reconnecting with Meharry and Vanderbilt colleagues as we enhance partnerships, research, and community work with the MVA,” Dr. Whitted said.
Extensive and Established Experience
Dr. Whitted’s professional career has been centered around research in the field of social and behavioral genomics, specifically in minority and underserved communities. She most recently served as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the driving force behind advancing genomics research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She has also held various research positions at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
In 2019, Dr. Whitted was named a 2021-2023 Human Genetics Scholar with the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), an initiative focused on increasing and supporting workforce diversity in the human genetics and genomics research community.
When asked to reflect on the most rewarding component of her career, Dr. Whitted considers the opportunity to mentor students to be the most fulfilling.
“The most rewarding experience has been being able to provide mentorship to up and coming scientists or public health professionals and seeing them flourish in their own careers,” Whitted explains. “I’ve had the opportunity to mentor students from high school to the doctoral level, which has allowed me to shape the futures of others…seeing them grow is very rewarding.”
Returning to the Meharry Medical College Community
This is not the first time Dr. Whitted has been a part of the Meharry Medical College family. Dr. Whitted received her Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) from Meharry Medical College in 2008. Nearly 15 years later, she is excited to be returning to a community that embraced her from the beginning.
“It means a lot to be back in the Meharry space. Having Meharry trained clinicians in my community was a key influence for me to attend MMC initially,” Whitted stated. “Meharry has always been a leader in producing a diverse workforce of clinicians, scientists, and public health professionals…it’s very important to be able to support faculty and students contributing to diversity in our medicine and healthcare systems.”
After graduating from Meharry Medical College, Dr. Whitted obtained her Doctor of Public Health degree in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from another notable HBCU—Florida A&M University.
About Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance
Founded in 1999, the MVA bridges the institutions of Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Its mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research in three primary areas—community engagement, interprofessional education and research—by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the communities they serve. Through community engagement, the MVA serves a large community of stakeholders including surrounding universities and colleges, community organizations, faith-based outlets and community health centers. Its interprofessional education enhances students' interdisciplinary understanding and improves patient outcomes through integrated care. The research conducted provides access to experienced grant writers and materials supporting the grant application process and facilitates grant-writing workshops.