Lorna McNeill

Lorna McNeillLorna H. McNeill, PhD, MPH, is associate professor and chair of the Department of Health Disparities at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is also the Cullen Trust Health Care Chair in Health Disparities Research. Dr. McNeill’s research is on the elimination of cancer-related health disparities in minority populations. Her research has particular emphasis on understanding the influence of social contextual determinants of cancer in minorities, with a special focus of the role of physical activity as a key preventive behavior and obesity as a major cancer determinant. Her research takes place in minority and underserved communities such as public housing developments, black churches, community-based clinics and low-income neighborhoods—communities with excess cancer death rates. She has been continuously funded, receiving grants from various funding agencies (i.e., National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, etc.), to better understand and design innovative solutions to address health inequities in racial/ethnic minority communities. Currently, she is principal investigator of several community-based studies, primarily working with African American churches. One is called Project CHURCH, an academic-faith-based partnership established to identify underlying reasons for health disparities in cancer and cancer risk factors in African American populations and engage them as partners cancer research. She has furthered this partnership to include one focused on obesity research called Faith, Health, and Family Collaborative. Most recently she has been building research ties with several Asian American communities and organizations in Houston, with the goal of better understanding cancer risk and intervention opportunities in these communities. Dr. McNeill is also director of the Center for Community-Engaged Translational Research (CCETR) at MD Anderson. CCETR works with MD Anderson faculty to develop collaborations with underserved communities with a focus on conducting high-quality, relevant cancer prevention research.