Friday, November 24, 2017
Mervyn M. Dymally Named Director of New Urban Health Institute at CDU
By Sentinel News Service
Published January 1, 2009

Respected Federal, State Legislator to Head one of the University's Health Care Initiatives for Undeserved


Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) has named Merviyn M. Dymally, respected former California Assemblyman, Senator, Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Congressman to head the school's new Urban Health Institute.

"The University has always been fortunate to have the unfailing support of Mervyn Dymally, and now we have the added benefit of his day-to-day leadership in a much-needed role focusing on health care inequities," said CDU President Susan Kelly. "In addition to his directorship of the Urban Health Institute, he will assist me in government relations on the federal, state and local levels, where he has served so prominently for over 45 years."

The mission of the new Urban Health Institute is advocacy policy and research to improve health inequities; particularly childhood obesity, diabetes, cancer, mental illness, HIV/AIDS and heart disease and other persistent health problems that plague poor and underserved communities.

"I could not ask for a better opportunity and challenge to continue to serve the university, the people of the state of California, and medically underserved people throughout the nation in a meaningful way," said Dymally, who recently retired from the state legislature-the longest-serving African American lawmaker.

Dymally first served in the California Assembly from 1962 to 1966, and became the first black state senator in 1966, subsequently the first and only black lieutenant governor, and later a six-term U.S. congressman. He returned to the state Assembly in 2002, where he chaired the Health Committee. In 2001, Dymally was approved as a professor in the CDU College of Medicine, shortly before his return to politics.

A longtime supporter of Charles Drew University, Dymally authored the legislation SB1026 that created the school's affiliation with the University of California Board of Regents. CDU students earn medical degrees through a shared program with UCLA and numerous research projects are conducted jointly with CDU's Colleges of Medicine, Science and Health and UCLA.

Dymally holds a bachelor's degree in education, a master's in government and a doctorate in human behavior and leadership.

CDU is a private nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health sciences institution. Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated over 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,200 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals. The only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S. CDU is recognized as a leader in health inequities and translational research, specifically with respect to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and HIV/AIDS. The University is among the top 7% of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded institutions and rated one of the top 50 private universities in research in the U.S. Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named the "best performer" in the University of California System with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians. For more information, visit

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