Tuskegee University’s graduate public health students visit with lawmakers at State Capitol as public health change makers

Contacts:  Anissa L. Riley, Director, Office of External Affairs,

  College of Veterinary Medicine,


Crystal James, JD, Head, Department of Graduate Public Heath,

College of Veterinary Medicine


                       TUSKEGEE, Ala. (April 16, 2019) – Dr. Fredrick D. Patterson, third president of Tuskegee University and founder of the veterinary program at Tuskegee University stated, “Change agents are critical links to enable a community to grow, be healthy and make a positive contribution to America.  Their road is often rocky, but they are sustained by their training and commitment to make the world a better place in which to live.” (Source: Speech, 1944 New York).

Participants from the Tuskegee University Department of Graduate Public Health met with Sarah Domm, Alabama grassroots manager and co-chair of the proceedings for the opening session of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ASC CAN) Day at the Capitol.  In photo (left to right) are:  Sarah Domm, Oyoyo Egiebor-Aiwan, Samina Akhter, Professor Lloyd Webb and Working Group 9 leader Dimple Davis.

Professor Webb greeted during luncheon at State House by Congressman Scott Stadthagen, State of Alabama Representative for House District 9.

The public health students in the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Graduate Public Health are geared up to be those change agents as the late Dr. Patterson promoted and help the State of Alabama grow and be healthier. They partnered with other change agents and visited lawmakers on April 2 for the opening session of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Day at the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. Sarah Domm, Alabama grassroots manager, served as co-chair of the proceedings for the day.

The Department of Graduate Public Health, in line with its “Excellence in Service Learning L-RISE” goal, joined forces with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to provide education and support to legislators at the Alabama State Capitol around critical issues faced by cancer survivors, which include translation of research findings to public health interventions. L-RISE stands for Excellence in Leadership, Research, Innovative Teaching, Service Learning and Ethics. The group had the opportunity to speak with several lawmakers from the Alabama legislature to include Congressman Scott Stadthagen, State Representative for House District 9; Senator Tom Whatley for Senate District 27; and Senator William (Billy) Beasley for Senate District 28 (which includes Macon County).

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network participants who shared the day’s experience as members of working group 9 included Debbie Davis, Norman Davis, and Dimple Davis, who serves as a long-standing member of the group and its leader.

Tuskegee University’s soon to be graduating Master of Public Health students, Oyoyo Egiebor-Aiwan and Samina Akhter, had the opportunity to join the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in a call to action for cancer victims. The students, under the leadership of Dr. Lloyd Webb, professor of Public Health at Tuskegee University, were among the cancer advocates who walked the hallways of the State House to encourage elected officials to make cancer support in Alabama a priority.

“As public health change makers, soon to enter the workplace, the students experienced the thrill of having their voices heard by visiting officials in their offices and educating officials on the impact of critical legislation to support cancer research and services,” said Atty. Crystal James, department head for the college’s public health program.

“The public health department’s faculty and staff, under the leadership of Atty. James as the program’s dept. head, are doing an excellent job in preparing our students to be change agents by providing the mentorship needed to get our students ready to be career-ready advocates for this healthcare discipline that mandates a responsibility to saving lives by spreading awareness, assisting in disease prevention and disease control and building a healthy society,” said Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean.  

In addition to speaking with lawmakers, students met with several cancer survivors who shared their stories, as well as executive members of the Cancer Action Network and staff of the Alabama Department of Public Health. For more information about the graduate public health program, visit www.tuskegee.edu/vetmed.

About the Graduate Public Health Program at Tuskegee University

The mission of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine’s graduate program in public health is to prepare public health professionals to draw on knowledge and skills of a number of disciplines to define, assess critically, resolve public health problems and promote populations health.  The program of study develops core competencies in multiple areas, including the quantitative sciences, health services administration, biological, social, behavioral and environmental sciences, ethics, health policy and law.

About the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ASC CAN), Alabama Cancer Action Center

Alabama volunteers, staff and advocates for American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network fight cancer by encouraging decision makers to support laws and policies like sustained investments in cancer research, stronger tobacco control efforts, improved access to care, and better quality of life for patients. To learn more, go to: https://www.fightcancer.org/states/alabama.

Working group 9 members share a moment of discussion in the office of State Senator Tom Whatley for House District 27 that includes Lee County, Alabama. Senator Tom Whatley is standing third from left.

Above, Senator Whatley meets with Samina Akhter who shares the story of how a cancer victim’s experience had serious impact on the lives of surviving members in his district.

Above, the Working group 9 members speak with Senator Billy Beasley outside of the office of the State Representative for District 7, which includes Macon County, home of Tuskegee University. Pictured from left to right are Norman Davis, Oyoyo Egiebor-Aiwan, Dimple Davis (group leader), Senator Beasley, and Professor Webb.

Three members of group 9 (Debbie Davis, Samina Akhter, and Professor Webb) discuss some interesting findings during their visit to the Alabama State House.

ACS CAN participants who shared the day’s experience as members of working group 9 are standing outside the Alabama State House. Group 9 members include: (from left to right) Debbie Davis, Norman Davis, Dimple Davis, Samina Akhter, Oyoyo Egiebor-Aiwan, and Professor Webb.