NashvilleBusiness.Net 100 Leading African Americans 2018 Recipient: Mariah L. Cole, J.D.

Click Here To Listen Nashville Business 100 Leading African Americans Mariah Cole

Mariah L. Cole, J.D. is an advocate for social justice and cares deeply about equitable policies that address the underlying causes of racial and ethnic disparities in health and economic status. As the Director of Program Management in the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College, she administers a Certificate in Health Policy academic program, which primarily focuses on health disparities and health equity. In her role, she manages the day-to-day activities of the grant-funded Center and holds an Instructor appointment in the School of Graduate Studies and Research where she has taught a course highlighting the role of social determinants of health on health outcomes.

Before joining the staff at Meharry, Mariah served as the Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs at Tennessee State University. During this time, she deepened her understanding of the vital role that education plays on the trajectory of students’ lives, specifically students at historically black colleges and universities. She also led the Division in its continuous process improvement plan facilitated by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence and continues to use this framework at Meharry.

Mariah is heavily involved in the Nashville community where she holds a number of positions in organizations that reflect her passion for social justice and devotion to faith. She serves as the Vice President of the Urban League Young Professionals of Middle Tennessee and is committed to the mission of enabling African-Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights. To that end, she also serves as a founding board member of The Equity Alliance, a nonprofit organization that proactively advocates for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream. She is the board secretary for the Power of 10 PAC, which recruits, funds and supports African-Americans and other ethnic minorities seeking local and state public elected office in Davidson County, Tennessee.

Additionally, she serves on the executive committee of the nonprofit board of Preston Taylor Ministries, a youth-serving organization that empowers children and youth to build joy-filled friendships, develop a love for learning, and discover God-inspired dreams. Mariah also serves on the board of Southern Word, a nonprofit organization that offers creative solutions for youth to build literacy through the literary and performing arts. She is a member of the Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a member of the Napier-Looby Bar Association, and a member of Olive Branch church.

In 2015, Mariah was selected to participate in the Nashville Young Leaders Council. She was also selected as Nashville’s Top 30 Under 30 in 2016 by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Nashville’s Black 40 Under 40 in 2017. She was recently selected to the next class of the Nashville Emerging Leaders program and will begin in Spring 2018.

Mariah is a graduate of the University of Mississippi where she earned a B.A. in English as well as a J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. She enjoys creative writing, which she shares on her blog, “Out of My Mouth”, as aspires to be a published author.

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