Anita Randolph, PhD, has been named Director of Community Engagement and Education for the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB). Randolph has extensive experience in community outreach and community organizing, and she is a trained neuroscientist whose research focuses on methamphetamine addiction to elucidate differences in brain function between people with and without a history of substance abuse using MRI imaging modalities.
In her new role, Randolph will design and co-direct the community engagement and education core for MIDB.
“My greatest mission in life is to be a link in the chain, a bond of connection between people,” said Randolph. “2020 has been an unprecedented year for the pursuit of equality in America. I am committed to using my link in the chain to strengthen the bridge between the community and the University of Minnesota.”
Randolph previously trained as a postdoc under MIDB co-director Damien Fair, PhD. In addition to her community engagement work, she will continue her research with Fair on addiction, adolescent cognitive development, and research education. She will also be an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical School.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have Dr. Randolph join and meet the team at MIDB and the University of Minnesota,” said Fair. “Her commitment, passion, and experience toward breaking down barriers between underrepresented communities and the work that occurs at the University fits very well with the culture we are trying to embody at MIDB.”
Randolph previously served as director of the Youth Engaged in Science! (YES!) Initiative and was a postdoctoral fellow at Oregon Health & Science Center and the Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System in Portland. In these roles she conducted outreach projects throughout the greater Portland area and in Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa.
She has extensive community service experience, including serving on organizational boards focused on human rights, recovery and reentry, underrepresented youth, and African women and children. She cofounded the Safer Space program, a peer-to-peer mental health support group for the BIPOC community and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. She is also the founder of Building Everyday Alliances by Delivering Support (BEADS), which aims to make STEM more accessible to underrepresented minorities in villages, hospitals, and orphanages around the world.
She holds a bachelor’s of science degrees in genetics, agriculture, and microbiology from the University of Georgia. She holds two PhD’s from the dual program in biomedical sciences and neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in collaboration with the Università degli Studi di Palermo. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science Center and Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System in Portland, Oregon.
MIDB brings together researchers, clinicians and educators, as well as policy and public health experts to address early brain health from every angle to maximize their collective impact and increase the speed of discovery. This first-of-its-kind institute was made possible by a $35 million naming gift from Minnesota Masonic Charities, a $21 million investment from the Lynne & Andrew Redleaf Foundation and other generous philanthropic support.