Mignonne Guy

Mignonne C. Guy, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Director, Health Equity Across the Lifespan in Virginia Lab (HEAL-VA Lab)


  • Ph.D., Higher Education and Social Theory, University of Arizona
  • M.A., Higher Education and Social Theory, University of Arizona


Dr. Mignonne C. Guy is an associate professor with tenure and former chair of the Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she teaches courses onhealth 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 would be required take a three-credit course that meets the racial literacy requirement as a part of the foundations of VCU’s general education curriculum. As of spring 2024, the implementation of this requirement has been delayed indefinitely. Nevertheless, 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 and the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at VCU. She holds several national advisory positions including as a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health. She is founding co-chair and a current member of the Racial and Equity Task Force in the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco and an advisory board member for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Building Capacity to Reduce Tobacco Inequities in the South and Midwest Initiative. Dr. Guy is also a past Mid-Atlantic Regional Lead for the Intercultural Cancer Council.

Prior to her arrival at VCU in 2014, 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 behavioral, social and structural 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 socioecological lenses to examine the complex interplay between distal and proximal factors that influence health in people of African descent.

Recently, she has expanded her research focus to examine the ways in which systemic racism is reproduced in academia and in biomedical and health equity research. Dr. Guy has published over 60 manuscripts in tobacco control and tobacco regulatory science research. She is the principal investigator of the project entitled, Eliminating Systemic Racism in Commercial Tobacco Control Research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Grant no. 79456, PI: Guy) where she leads a transdisciplinary team to interrogate the role of research in reproducing systemic racism and tobacco-related health inequities and to develop and disseminate an antiracist and equity-centered road map focused on eliminating tobacco-related inequities among Black tobacco users.

Dr. Guy is also an MPI, co-project director of the Investigator Development Core (IDC) and director of social justice integration in the NIH/NIMHD funded Center for Research, Health, and Social Justice (1P50MD017319-01, MPIs: Cornell, Fagan, Guy). As co-project director of the IDC and director of social justice implementation and integration in health research, Dr. Guy leads the development and training of scientists and community members in anti-racist methods to conduct cancer prevention and control and cardiovascular disease research in Black and/or rural communities and she assesses implementation of the core elements of social justice in health research.

For over 8 years, she has been a co-investigator and site lead investigator in the FDA/NIDA funded VCU Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (U54DA036105; MPIs: Eissenberg & Breland) where she develops innovative methods to surveille emerging tobacco products on the market and uses these data to inform tobacco regulation.

Broad Research Interests

  • Health inequalities
  • Cancer prevention and control
  • Social determinants of health
  • Racism in biomedical research continuum
  • Structural racism

Substantive Research Interests

  • Tobacco-related health inequities
  • Menthol flavored tobacco product cessation
  • Flavored tobacco product regulation

View publications


  • Interdisciplinary Research Methods (undergraduate)
  • Black Health Matters: Social Determinants of Health in the African American Community (undergraduate)
  • Advocacy, Activism, and Social Justice in the Black Community (undergraduate)
  • Social Inequalities and Education among African Americans (undergraduate)
  • Senior Capstone (undergraduate)