January 14, 2020
Taya Jackson Scott, EdD, former chief administrative officer and chief of staff at the Morehouse School of Medicine, has been named the new vice dean of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, effective January 27.
During her eight years at Morehouse, where she also served as interim vice president for marketing and communications, Jackson Scott led a team focused on strategic affairs and change management across a broad range of business functions, including research, operations, IT, human resources, budget, finance and strategic planning. Many of these areas will fall under her responsibility at the Gillings School.
“We look forward to drawing on Taya’s deep knowledge and rich experience, both as an administrator and as someone deeply committed to public health,” said Gillings School Dean Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH. “The leadership team of the School will be greatly enhanced by her presence, and I’m confident she will contribute meaningfully to the University at large.”
Jackson Scott’s commitment to inclusive excellence and building bridges goes back to the start of her career.
“So much can be accomplished when outreach is organic and not forced,” Jackson Scott observes. “I learned early on in my career that you can have a lasting effect on someone over a cup of coffee. I always try and be a good listener, and confidence and confidentiality are two of my strengths. People want to feel like they’re a part of something they can be proud of, and that becomes easier when you can have real conversations about real issues.”
To Jackson Scott, public health is personal. While at Washington University in St. Louis, she co-developed BioMedRAP, an ongoing program designed to recruit underrepresented minorities interested in careers in biological and biomedical sciences. Her work with her sister, Karen Scott, MD, MPH, FACOG, continues to this day through mentorship of marginalized young women.
“My faith is the biggest part of me, and I always try to be guided by humility and humanity,” says Jackson Scott.
She succeeds Todd Nicolet, PhD, who served as the Gillings School’s vice dean until being named UNC-Chapel Hill’s vice provost for digital and lifelong learning in May 2019.
Jackson Scott is taking on her new role at a critical moment in the School’s history. Gillings leadership is continuing the roll-out of curricular changes in the residential Master of Public Health (MPH) program and ramping up online education efforts through the Online MPH.
“I am a firm believer in lifelong learning and providing educational opportunities to people at every phase of their lives, whether they are a recent undergraduate, a mid-career professional or a medical doctor who wants to have an impact on populations instead of just at a clinical level,” Jackson Scott explains. “I’m excited that the Gillings School is at the forefront of online learning, and I am deeply committed to enhancing our offerings.”
Outside of academia, Jackson Scott is an avid tennis player and has read every book by John Grisham. Her intellectual curiosity was first spurred by her mother, who taught Jackson Scott and her sisters the value of community.
“Believe in the people who serve you,” her mother would say, “and build community with people — no matter where they come from.”
Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.