Mignonne C. Guy, PhD
Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University
Department Chair, Department of African American Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University


Dr. Mignonne C. Guy is an associate professor with tenure and chair in the Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University where she teaches courses on health inequities in Black populations, race and racism in the U.S., and interdisciplinary research methods. As a scholar-activist, Dr. Guy is the founder and co-chair of the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences Committee on Racial Equity (CORE) and of the Committee on Racial Equity Student Advisory Group (CORE SAG). As co-chair of CORE, Dr. Guy led a community-engaged initiative to develop and implement a racial literacy requirement in the foundations of the VCU general education curriculum, and the development and implementation of the first interdisciplinary curricula on race and racism for health sciences and the general undergraduate student population in Virginia. After numerous challenges, barriers, and delays, the efforts of CORE bore fruit in December 2021, when the racial literacy requirement was approved by the VCU University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee; beginning in the Fall of 2023, all VCU undergraduate students will take a three-credit course that meets the racial literacy requirement as a part of the foundations of VCU’s general education curriculum. The structure of this requirement and the model to achieve it is the first in the nation. Dr. Guy is a member of the Massey Cancer Center Cancer Prevention and Control Group at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Dr. Guy also holds several national advisory positions including as a member of the FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, co-chair for the Racial and Equity Task Force in the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, a Mid-Atlantic Regional Lead for the Intercultural Cancer Council and an advisory board member for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Building Capacity to Reduce Tobacco Inequities in the South and Midwest Initiative. Prior to her arrival in 2014 at VCU, she held appointments as a research associate in the Department of Health Sciences Research at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, an assistant research scientist in the Center for Health Outcomes and Pharmacoeconomic Research, a fellow in the R25T Cancer Prevention and Control Postdoctoral Fellowship program in the Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona. She is a former health disparities scholar for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Research Interests

Dr. Guy’s research centers on social, behavioral, biological and environmental determinants that contribute to health inequities among minoritized populations and other marginalized groups. She has a strong interest in using critical race, epistemic oppression and ecosocial lenses to examine the complex interplay between distal and proximal factors that influence health and how they shape the health behaviors and outcomes in people of African descent. Recently, she has expanded her research focus to examining the ways in which structural racism is reproduced in academia and, in particular, in biomedical and health inequities research. Dr. Guy has published over 60 manuscripts in tobacco prevention and control research and tobacco regulatory sciences. She is the principal investigator of the project entitled, Advancing an Antiracist Black/African American-centered Commercial Tobacco Control Research to Move Toward Health Equity funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where she leads a transdisciplinary team to engage a variety of stakeholders from communities, academic institutions, policymakers, funding agencies and publishing entities from across the nation to interrogate the role of research in reproducing tobacco-related health inequities and to develop and disseminate an antiracist and equity-centered research agenda and road map focused on eliminating tobacco-related inequities among Black tobacco users.  She is a co-investigator and site lead investigator on the FDA/NIDA funded VCU Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (VCU CTP), Contextual Knowledge Core (U54DA036105; MPIs: Eissenberg & Breland) where she develops innovative methods to surveille emerging tobacco products on the market and use these data to inform tobacco regulation. As director of social justice implementation and integration in the NIH/NIMHD funded Center for Research, Health and Social Justice (1P50MD017319-01, MPIs: Cornell & Fagan), Dr. Guy assesses implementation of the core elements of social justice and leads the development and training of scientists and community members in anti-racist methods to conduct cancer prevention research in Black communities.

Her work utilizes mixed-methods approaches that she applies to transdisciplinary collaborations.