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New Student Orientation: Summer2021 | Guest Speakers

  Dr. Thomas LaVeist, is the dean of Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Health Equity, Previously, he served as chairman of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University (GWU) Milken Institute School of Public Health. He joined GWU after 25 years on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he was the William & Nancy Richardson Professor in Health Policy and founding director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions.

Dean LaVeist’s research focuses on health equity, having conducted major studies of cultural competency in healthcare, social determinants of health, and health policy analysis. He has published more than 130 articles in scientific journals, focusing on the social and behavioral factors that impact health outcomes, and has engaged in these issues through lectures and articles in major media. One of his latest projects amongst many is THE SKIN YOU’RE IN, a documentary series about racial inequalities in health that is currently in production, which he is the executive producer and narrator.

Dean LaVeist recognizes that New Orleans is a major urban center with all of the health and social problems of other communities in urban America, and says, “Louisiana, in many ways, exhibits the health and social problems of rural America. This places the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in an ideal position to work with communities to conduct research to identify solutions to longstanding health problems, working with communities to implement solutions, and training the next generation of leaders who will work to eliminate inequities in health. This work complements perfectly the school’s extraordinary work taking place around the globe, including its historic role as the nation’s leading institution for the study of tropical medicine.”


Michael Cunningham Michael Cunningham serves as an Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Research in Tulane University’s Office of Academic Affairs. He holds the academic rank of Professor and has a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Psychology and the undergraduate program in Africana Studies. In his role as the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Research he represents the university in the roles associated with a Graduate Dean(e.g., American Association of Universities’ Association of Graduate Studies, Council of Graduate Schools, Council of Southern Graduate Schools). He is the PI for the university’s Louisiana Board of Regents/Southern Region Educational Board (BOR/SREB) Graduate Fellowships to Promote Diversity Program. Dr. Cunningham also serves as the Director of the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS) at Tulane, which includes advising the Graduate Studies Student Association, supervision of OGPS staff. He also approves new Postdoctoral Fellowships, oversees reviews of postdoc fellows, and provides programming for the university’s postdoctoral fellows. Additionally, he chairs the university Graduate Council and oversees reviews for PhD programs and research-based master’s programs. Dr. Cunningham also advises the Provost on issues associated with graduate and professional education including approval of new programs and changes to existing programs.

As a developmental psychologist, Dr. Cunningham has a program of research that focuses on racial, ethnic, psychosocial, and socioeconomic processes that affect psychological well‐being, adjustment to chronic stressful events, and academic achievement among African American adolescents and their families. He uses mixed methods in his current research project that includes the study of gender‐specific patterns of resilience and vulnerability in urban African American participants. Dr. Cunningham has received external funding from several sources including the National Science Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, the Louisiana Board of Regents, and The U.S. Department of Education. He has been recognized for his research from the National Research Council. He has received Tulane’s highest teaching award and been designated as a Suzanne and Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellow. He completed his doctoral work at Emory University after completing an undergraduate degree at Morehouse College. Dr. Cunningham also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. His current professional service includes serving as Editor-in-chief for Research in Human Development and Senior Editor for the American Educational Research Journal in addition to serving as editorial member of the Journal of Negro Education. He served as an Associate Editor for Child Development from 2007-2019. His formal mentoring experiences have included being a Senior Mentor for the Robert Wood Johnson’s New Connections Program and a Faculty Mentor for the American Psychological Association’s Psychology Summer Institute, which is a part of APA’s Minority Fellowship Program.


Anne-Liese Singh, Asian-American Woman, wearing floral blouse with dark outdoor background behind her  

Dr. Anneliese Singh is Tulane University’s first Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development. As the university’s chief diversity officer, she leads efforts to coordinate and enhance that the university’s campus-wide diversity, equity and inclusion work to effect greater impact. Singh’s research, practice and advocacy are far-reaching, and focus on translating a deep understanding of the experiences and needs of historically marginalized groups into insights on how counselors and psychologists can offer meaningful support and become effective social change agents.

A prolific author, she has published over 100 articles and several books, such as Racial healing: Practical activities to help you challenge privilege, confront systemic racism and engage in collective healing (2019). Dr. Singh has also been honored with over 11 national awards for her work in social justice organizing and community-building. You can find more on her site and all over the web, and we’re excited for her to discuss addressing racism, health equity and social justice.

Carolyn Barber-Pierre, African American woman, headshot, wearing golden blouse with bohemian pattern   In 2019 President Mike Fitts announced the creation of The Carolyn Barber-Pierre Center for Intercultural Life in honor of Carolyn Barber-Pierre, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and the campus pioneer whose decades of dedication to the Tulane community have been instrumental in its movement toward greater inclusion. Carolyn has more than 40 years of professional experience in the field of higher education diversity and inclusion. In addition to her position as an AVP for Student Affairs, Carolyn is an adjunct professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance. She served the Tulane community for 34 years and has been in her current position since 2000. You can hear more about her journey at Tulane University as she overcame challenges to bring equity, spaces, and programs to students of color and other marginalized groups. She looks forward to extending an invitation to you to visit and participate with the Carolyn Barber-Pierre Intercultural Center for Student Life.