October 19, 2020
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Consuelo H. Wilkins, MD, MSCI, Professor of Medicine and Vice President for Health Equity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
In announcing 100 new members on Monday, Oct 19, the academy cited Wilkins for “pioneering the development of novel methods to engage traditionally hard-to-reach communities in the design and conduct of clinical research, effectively integrating participant and community perspectives. Her innovations have transformed nationwide and global data science initiatives by addressing disparities in the research participation.”
Formerly called the Institute of Medicine, the NAM was established in 1970 as the health arm of the National Academies. With more than 2,200 members, the NAM is recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis, providing recommendations on a broad range of health-related issues.
Wilkins is among the record high 30% of newly elected NAM members who are under age 50.
“This distinguished and diverse class of new members is a truly exceptional group of scholars and leaders whose expertise in science, medicine, health, and policy will be integral to helping the NAM address today’s most pressing health challenges and inform the future of health and health care for the benefit of everyone around the globe,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “It is my privilege to welcome these esteemed individuals to the National Academy of Medicine.”
Wilkins joined the faculties of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Meharry Medical College in Nashville in 2012. Last year she was named to newly created positions of Vice President for Health Equity at VUMC and Associate Dean for Health Equity for the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
“Election to the National Academy of Medicine is an extraordinary honor and I am thrilled our efforts to transform how research is conducted and advance health equity are being recognized,” Wilkins said. “I hope this honor inspires others to partner with communities to pursue new and different approaches to scientific discovery and improving health.”
Wilkins earned a BS in Microbiology and an MD from Howard University. She completed residency training in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center and a geriatric medicine fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Mo.
Following her medical training, Wilkins earned a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from Washington University School of Medicine and was an associate professor of Medicine in Geriatrics and Nutritional Science, Psychiatry and Surgery.
A nationally recognized leader in health equity and community engagement, Wilkins is the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of several major grants funded by the National Institutes of Health, including VUMC’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), the national Recruitment Innovation Center, and the Vanderbilt-Miami-Meharry Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine and Population Health. She has also been the principal investigator of awards from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Two other Vanderbilt faculty members were elected this year, bringing the university's current membership in NAM to 18:
- Nancy Carrasco, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and the Joe C. Davis Chair of Biomedical Science; and
- Velma McBride Murry, PhD, University Professor of Health Policy and Human & Organizational Development in the School of Medicine and Peabody College, and the Lois Autrey Betts Chair of Education and Human Development at Peabody College.
Since 2012 Wilkins has served as executive director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, which works to enhance the educational, scientific and clinical programs at and between the two medical schools. On Nov. 1 she will be succeeded by Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD, a national expert in cancer disparities from Wake Forest University.
Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine, and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors.