Board of Directors

Cynthia M. Harris, Ph.D

Cynthia M. Harris, Ph.D is Associate Dean for Public Health and Director and Professor of the Florida A&M University Institute of Public Health (IPH) (administratively housed in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences).  The IPH was created by the Florida Legislature in 1995 and offers the Master of Public Health in five specialization areas: epidemiology and biostatistics, health policy and management, behavioral sciences and health education, environmental and occupational health, and public health practice (online). IPH also offers the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in epidemiology and biostatistics and behavioral sciences and health program.  The DrPH degree program is the first offered in the State of Florida.  The public health program is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.  It is the first accredited public health program in North Florida.

Dr. Harris has over 30 years of expertise, leadership, and training to successfully implement community-based participatory research with a focus on environmental health and toxicology. She is a former Branch Chief with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (U.S Public Health Service) and was the first African American to serve in that position.  She was the recipient of a USPHS award for serving as Program Director of the First National Health Conference with a focus on environmental justice.  She has been successful in receiving state and federal research funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the development of a toxicology curriculum for lay community members and development of a protocol for the reduction of eye injuries in migrant citrus workers in Apopka, Florida. She was also the Principal Investigator of an award to develop a coalition to address childhood obesity in Tallahassee – Hope Thru COPE (Childhood Obesity Prevention Education).  Under her leadership, over (70) local organizations and agencies received mini-grant funding to sustain their health and wellness initiatives to combat obesity in children.   In addition, Dr. Harris has over 10 years of experience in addressing racial and ethnic disparities in the health professions. She is the Director of the Florida Alliance for Health Professions Diversity (FAHPD) and is currently the Director of the Florida Health Equity Research Institute (HERI) Education and Training Core.  Two of the signature programs of this Core are: (1) FAHPD/HERI Annual Student Symposium; and the (2) HERI Student Scholars Program.  Since the first student symposium (2009), well over 900 students have participated in a symposium, throughout the state of Florida, and were provided exposure to careers in public health, allied health, pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, and the biomedical sciences, information on funding streams for these professions, and research opportunities.  The HERI Students Scholars Program is an 8-week immersive research program that provides high school, middle school, and undergraduate students an opportunity to work with a research faculty member on a health disparities related topic.

She is currently the Coordinator of the FAMU-Bond Community Health Center COVID-19 Testing Site.

Dr. Harris is also the recipient of several public health service and academic awards including two distinguished alumnus awards from Meharry Medical College and the Black Innovators Award from the Black Alumni Association of the University of Kansas.  She is originally from Kansas City, Kansas and is married to her wonderful life partner, Leo M. Harris, Jr.