Campus News

Health scholar mentors and collaborates with Dillard humanities students to shine a light on New Orleans region’s health disparities

Dillard music major, Karen Grant-Anderson, is one of the student artists-in-residence participating in Inspiring Health Justice, a collaboration with Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods. Photo: Sabree Hill/Dillard University.

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2022 
Contact:  Eddie Francis, efrancis@dillard.edu 

NEW ORLEANS —For a second year, Dillard University’s Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHHDRC) is collaborating with Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods (ASITW) for Inspiring Health Justice, A Collaborative Art-Science Scholar-in-Residence Program. The aim of Inspiring Health Justice is to bring the arts and public health together to address the New Orleans region’s long-standing health disparities. There will be a culminating program Friday, April 22, 5:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom at Dillard University.

This year’s residency collaboration is titled “DESPAIR-ity: The Call of History to Pull Us Forward”. The program focuses on inequities in people’s past and present as well as the responsibility community members have going forward to work towards awareness, education and transformation. Through creative, cross-disciplinary mentorship, students from Dillard’s School of Humanities have focused their energy and passion on fostering health equity.  

This year’s scholar-in-residence is Dr. Kristi Anderson of Louisiana Health Sciences Center, Lafayette Medical Education. Starting in the fall 2021 semester and for the entire spring 2022 semester, Anderson has worked in-person and remotely with four Dillard student artists-in-residence:  music majors Karen Grant-Anderson and Zaria Ivory and English majors William Shelton and Nailah Starks. The students are also being mentored by Dillard faculty members Dr. Nancy Dixon, associate professor and program coordinator of English, and Dr. Wen Zhang, associate professor of voice and coordinator of music. Throughout April, the students have presented their own poetry and prose, and they have performed song and dance. Their work was inspired by their discussions with Anderson about historic race, social and health inequities. 

The culminating event will be an evening with Anderson and the four student artists-in-residence, discussing their collaboration during and showcasing the students’ work.

About the Dillard University Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center 

The mission of the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHHDRC) is to take a comprehensive approach to advancing research across disciplinary areas, to enhance and promote coordination and collaboration throughout the scientific community, and to improve the overall quality of health for racial and ethnic minorities. To learn more, visit https://www.dillard.edu/mhhdrc/.

About A Studio in the Woods

A Studio in the Woods is a program of Tulane University’s ByWater Institute, is one of the leading artistic and academic residency programs in the Gulf South region. The Studio fosters creative responses to the challenges of our time by providing retreat to artists, scholars, and the public in our protected forest on the Mississippi River. To learn more, visit www.astudiointhewoods.org.


Dillard University is a historically Black institution that cultivates leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, and act courageously to make the world a better place. Located in New Orleans, Dillard is a private faith-based liberal arts university that offers 22 majors and two certificate programs. Founded in 1869, Dillard is Louisiana’s oldest HBCU, born from the union of Straight College and New Orleans University. Find out more by visiting www.dillard.edu.