Matt Schorr
February 10, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Although the specifics of her career path shifted, Teris Taylor always intended to work in healthcare.

Throughout her childhood and high school years, the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance’s (MVA) latest Research Immersion student planned to enter maternal health care. That changed in college, however.

“Up until I was a senior in high school, I always wanted to be an OB/GYN,” Taylor recalled.

Taylor graduated from Harold L. Richards High, a public school with a population of roughly 1,700 students from the Chicago area.

She then relocated to Nashville and attended Fisk University as an undergrad. That’s where, shortly before earning a Bachelor’s of Science Degree, her career goals changed.

 

Public Health

“I took this turn for public health after doing some research in sociology about social determinants of health,” Taylor explained, “specifically access to infertility treatments for low income women.”

As an undergrad at Fisk, she enrolled in Meharry Medical College’s (MMC) Bachelor of Science to Medical Degree Program, which cultivated a value for community health. She went on to earn her degree in Biology and Sociology, then transferred to Vanderbilt University and began working toward a Master’s Degree in Public Health.

That path ultimately brought her to the MVA.

 

Community Engagement

“I thought this was a perfect way to marry both institutions and work in the community,” Taylor said.

Her efforts include the Community Health Worker Collaborative, working alongside MVA Program Manager Jacquelyn S. Favours, MPH, CPH, CHES to develop webinars, establish advocacy groups and more.

“I want to learn how to engage stakeholders in the community,” she said. “And also, how to better improve health outcomes in non-traditional ways.”

 

Looking ahead

After her work with the MVA is finished and she’s earned her MPH from Vanderbilt, Taylor hopes to attend MMC and enter medical school.

“I want to make healthcare more accessible for all women, regardless of race or income or overall socioeconomic status,” she said.

 

About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

Founded in 1999, the Alliance 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 Alliance 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.