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Distinguished epidemiologist joins VCU School of Medicine and Massey Cancer Center

Aug 31, 2021

Emmanuel A. Taylor

Emmanuel A. Taylor, MSc, DrPH, has had a long career working to reduce health disparities. For the last 17 years, he served as health scientist administrator and program director in the Office of the Director of the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This week, he joins Virginia Commonwealth University as a researcher at Massey Cancer Center and professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at the School of Medicine.

“I was planning on retiring and traveling, but Dr. Winn called me back to active duty,” said Taylor, who collaborated on research projects with Robert A. Winn, M.D., years before he became Massey’s director. “This opportunity is the culmination of my career, and I look forward to contributing the totality of my experience and expertise for the betterment of VCU, Massey Cancer Center and, most importantly, the diverse population they serve.”

Taylor has over 30 years of experience at the State, Federal and community levels as well as in academia and the private sector. Throughout his career, he has conducted policy analysis and research to understand the effects of current or proposed health policies on cancer health disparities. Taylor is passionate about his work to reduce the burden of cancer on those who are disproportionately impacted by societal factors beyond their control. He is also passionate about teaching and mentoring the next generation of health care providers and health scientists/researchers.

“Dr. Taylor will be a tremendous asset to Massey Cancer Center and the university at large,” said Winn, who holds the Lipman Chair in Oncology at Massey and is also senior associate dean for cancer innovation and a professor of pulmonary disease and critical care medicine at the VCU School of Medicine. “His wealth of experience working with diverse populations combined with his knowledge of research and program design and evaluation will benefit the communities we serve through enhancements to our research and clinical care. The pipeline programs that he developed have trained generations of cancer researchers, and we’re excited to bring that expertise to our educational efforts.”

Taylor hopes to leverage his vast experience in interventional epidemiology to enhance interactions and trust between providers and patients, inform community-based research and health interventions for vulnerable populations within Massey’s catchment area and mentor future health behavior and policy researchers at VCU School of Medicine. He hopes these efforts will lead to additional external funding.

“We’re excited to bring Dr. Taylor’s impressive personal and professional experience to our team,” said Vanessa B. Sheppard, Ph.D., who is the associate director for community outreach, engagement and health disparities and Theresa A. Thomas Memorial Chair in Cancer Prevention and Research at Massey and chair of the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at VCU School of Medicine. “His focus on community-based participatory research aligns perfectly with our efforts, and his dedication to teaching and mentoring will have an immeasurable impact on future generations of VCU scholars.”

Born in the historic town of Abeokuta, Nigeria and traveling to the United States in 1972 as an exchange student, Taylor deeply understands the importance and impacts of efforts surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion. He was the first African student to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, and he was also the first Black student to graduate with a doctorate in international health and epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

“I’ve benefitted personally from what seems to be the focus of VCU—diversity and inclusion,” said Taylor. “It’s important that I use my position to afford the same opportunity to others.”

Taylor is a father of five and grandfather of six. His boyhood love of soccer followed him to the United States, where he played at Tulane University and as a semi-professional player in Atlanta after graduating. In his spare time, Taylor enjoys reading and traveling.

Written by: John Wallace, M.S.

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