Dr. Suzanne Randolph Cunningham Celebrates 35 Years with The MayaTech Corporation
Chief Science Officer is Trailblazer and Mentor in Public Health Research
If you ask Dr. Suzanne Randolph Cunningham how she got into public health, she will quickly tell you that public health got into her.
“I was trained as a developmental psychologist at Howard University and the University of Michigan, but I found public health and kept moving forward from there,” she says.
Now, with an extensive public health career spanning four decades, Dr. Randolph Cunningham has spent a significant amount of this time with The MayaTech Corporation as Senior Research Scientist and now Chief Science Officer, where we heartily congratulate her on 35 years of service to the company.
“Suzanne’s name and her longstanding work are highly-regarded across the field of public health—from federal agencies to community organizations and other health partners. Her commitment to improving people’s lives through public health is not just a professional goal; it is a deeply-rooted personal mission,” said Dr. Jean-Marie Mayas, CEO and founder of MayaTech, who asked Suzanne to join his team in 1986.
Dr. Randolph Cunningham began her career at Howard University’s College of Medicine, conducting research with Black infants and toddlers. She then conducted HIV prevention evaluations with the American Red Cross National Headquarters and returned to an academic career in family science, conducting research on Early Head Start children and their health needs at the University of Maryland, College Park. After 20 years at Maryland, she retired as Associate Professor Emerita in the School of Public Health, as one of its founding faculty members. Around that time, she was invited by her Michigan colleague, Dr. Mayas, to immediately come on board full-time in his applied public health research firm as Chief Science Officer.
“I got a chance to apply all that knowledge I soaked up into public health to transform systems and improve people’s lives,” Dr. Randolph Cunningham recalled. “Getting to focus on health in policies and improving health for all people: I just love it.”
For 35 years with MayaTech, Dr. Randolph Cunningham has conducted complex evaluations of federal and foundation programs, along with community-based systems interventions in communities of color across higher education and other non-profit sectors. A Kellogg National Fellow and award-winning researcher and faculty member, she lives and walks in the spirit of Ujima—collective work and responsibility—by mentoring others in the public health research space.
“At her core, Suzanne is an educator, having chaired numerous dissertation committees and mentored junior faculty, staff, and students who look up to her and value her counsel,” said MayaTech President Valerie Spencer. “Her approach to work is to ensure that all team members are brought in early to understand the process, and she readily shares resources, training, and professional development opportunities. She’s all about supporting and promoting the growth of public health professionals, especially underrepresented minorities.”
She has contributed greatly to the field, publishing dozens of research papers, driving organizational strategy, leading focus groups, and directing projects. She has led numerous external evaluations for initiatives addressing minority health issues, such as chronic diseases in Black and Latino communities, as well as reducing gender disparities in populations of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds through community-based participatory research projects.
She recently supported The Association of Black Psychologists, Inc. (ABPsi)—in partnership with The Alliance of National Psychological Associations for Racial and Ethnic Equity and the National Urban League, as commissioned by the Congressional Tri-Caucus—in conducting an online survey of nearly 2,500 Blacks/Africanas for ABPsi’s national needs assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on mental health in Black communities. ABPsi members, including Dr. Randolph Cunningham, presented findings and policy recommendations this past summer at professional conferences and before the Congressional Black Caucus, and to the White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.
“MayaTech is readily working to see a world where health equity is the norm,” Ms. Spencer said, “and we are honored to have Suzanne leading this important work for 35 years…and counting.”
About MayaTech: Since 1985, The MayaTech Corporation has focused on tackling existing and emerging public health challenges through direct engagement with agencies, governments, communities, and individuals. We provide a suite of research, training, evaluation, capacity-building, and other strategic support services aimed at reaching and impacting vulnerable populations, amplifying best practices, and innovating the practice of public health. Learn more at mayatech.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.