College of Science and Technology Names Brown-Hughes New COAACH Director

02/21/2024 College of Science and Technology

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 21, 2024) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s College of Science and Technology announces the appointment of Travonia Brown-Hughes, Ph.D., as director for the Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s Aging and Community Health (COAACH).

“Dr. Brown-Hughes brings a mindset, knowledge and experience that will expand our understanding and capabilities in culturally responsive, community-engaged and systems-focused approaches that address the holistic needs of communities facing challenges due to dementias, such as Alzheimer’s,” said Tonya Smith-Jackson, provost and executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Travonia Brown-HughesBrown-Hughes comes to N.C. A&T from Hampton University School of Pharmacy, where she served as an associate professor. Before then, she held a faculty appointment as a research associate in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology in the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. She was awarded the highly competitive two-year National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University in the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Research Center.

In 2023, Brown-Hughes was appointed to serve as a member of the Johns Hopkins Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) Scientist Advisory Board and the director of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiatives at the Johns Hopkins Alzheimer’s Disease-RCMAR.

In 2020, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appointed Brown-Hughes to serve on the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders State Commission. She also was a member of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Southeastern Chapter of the Board of Directors. Additionally, she was a fellow in the Apple Corps Leaders program where she worked with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore to develop a pilot food delivery service for low-income homebound seniors.

Brown-Hughes received a B.S. in biology from Hampton University, M.S. in community health from Old Dominion University in Virginia, MPH from the University of South Florida and Ph.D. in gerontology from the University of Kentucky. Her research interests are grounded in the identification of risk factors for cognitive decline, cognitive aging, and Alzheimer’s disease in diverse mid-life and older adult African American populations, barriers and facilitators to clinical research participation among underrepresented groups, and health disparities research.

“Dr. Brown-Hughes’ background, record of community-based research, vision and commitment to increasing diversity in the clinical and aging research workforce make her the ideal candidate for leading COAACH to be the center of excellence in community outreach, research and education,” said Abdellah Ahmidouch, Ph.D., College of Science and Technology dean.

COAACH was established in 2014 with a $1 million grant from Merck to investigate the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer’s disease on African Americans. Since then, the center’s efforts have expanded to include community outreach and research to close racial disparities related to research participation, treatment and curing Alzheimer’s and cognitive aging.

Media Contact Information: uncomm@ncat.edu