Dr. Carl V. Hill, NMF National Alumni Council Member, started working in public health after graduating in the inaugural Masters of Public Health (MPH) program at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Hill had a strong commitment to public health, but was unsure of what to do next to act on this commitment. While working with the Public Health Prevention Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Dr. Hill realized that he had a mission –but would have to create his own way forward. At 28 years old, Dr. Hill decided to further his education and fulfill his personal mission of service by getting a PhD in Public Health.
While he was attending a meeting of the American Public Health Association one of his mentors, Dr. Bill Jenkins, handed him an NMF pamphlet and encouraged him to apply for the doctoral fellowship. Dr. Jenkins, credited for developing the MPH Program at Morehouse School of Medicine, had a vision for young African-Americans in public health, which many times included doctoral training. At the time, there were limited opportunities in this field, as few graduate or medical schools offered programs that focused on health equity and social justice for students who were not preparing to become physicians. But the NMF program seemed just right for Carl, so Dr. Jenkins encouraged him to apply.
Dr. Hill’s application was duly submitted to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation which hosted the program. He had visited Michigan to play football as an undergrad with Morehouse College, but never imagined returning as a full-time student. With Dr. Jenkins’s guidance and a recommendation from NMF Alumna Dr. Helene Gayle—at the time, one of his supervisors at CDC—he was admitted into the W.K. Kellogg Doctoral Fellowship Program in Health Policy, and earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Hill was able to expand his horizons: not only his portfolio and education, but also the community of people that he worked with to address social determinants of health, an emerging priority at the time. The NMF fellowship provided him not only clarity and direction for his future career, but also the leverage he needed to contribute to efforts that address health disparities.
Dr. Hill has been the Director of the Office of Special Populations at the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Aging for over three years: he is leading efforts on facilitating studies centered around health disparities research related to aging, directs the Butler-Williams Scholars Program, and advises senior staff on policies that influence priorities for health disparities research. In 2015, he led a team of NIA colleagues to develop the NIA Health Disparities Research Framework, which identifies priorities for interdisciplinary research that addresses health disparities in aging.
Dr. Hill recently joined NMF’s National Alumni Council and is focused on creating new opportunities for students while expanding NMF’s Alumni Network. He is eagerly optimistic about our students, stating that he has “so much to learn from younger colleagues.” We are thrilled to have him as an active member of the NMF Alumni Network and our National Alumni Council.