Tanjala Purnell PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular and Clinical Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She holds joint faculty appointments in the Johns Hopkins Departments of Surgery, Health Policy and Management, and Health Behavior and Society. Dr. Purnell is the Founding Director of the B.O.L.D. (Building Opportunities for Lasting Discoveries) Health Equity Initiative; Executive Director of Health Freedom: A Path to Wellness; and Director of Community and Stakeholder Engagement with the Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation.
Dr. Purnell is an epidemiologist and health services researcher with over a decade of expertise related to identifying and addressing patient/family, healthcare system, and community-level factors influencing health and healthcare disparities for adults with kidney disease, organ failure, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. Her research has also helped to shed light on the dual impact of COVID-19 and systemic racism on disparities in the US. She has received several national and international research honors and has published findings from her work in leading journals, including JAMA, Health Affairs, American Journal of Transplantation, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, American Journal of Hypertension, and Diabetes Care. In 2021, she was featured as an international thought leader in transplantation and donation disparities as part of the Masterclass Series sponsored by The Transplantation Society.
Nationally, Dr. Purnell serves as Chair of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee; a member of the ASTS Boldly Against Racism Task Force; a member of the Board of Directors for the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP); and a member of the Governing Board of Trustees for the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland. She previously served as the Region 2 Representative to the OPTN/UNOS Minority Affairs Committee. At Johns Hopkins, she has served in multiple educational leadership roles over the last 6 years, where she has facilitated research mentoring opportunities for over 150 scholars; organized novel seminars for over 7,000 academic and community members; and developed health equity research methods courses for over 4,000 learners at Johns Hopkins and other institutions worldwide. She is a three-time recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award from Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Purnell is a native of the Mississippi Delta and a proud alumna of Tougaloo College where she obtained her B.S. in Computer Science and was a Jackson Heart Study Scholar.