About Mary S. Harris, Ph.D.
Dr. Mary S. Harris has dedicated her professional life to researching and providing health care information and education for the minority population. She is founder, president and CEO of BioTechnical Communications, Inc. (BTC), which specializes in the production and dissemination of health care information targeted to ethnic minorities. Possessing more than 20 years of experience in the areas of biology and health care, Dr. Harris received her Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Cornell University with postdoctoral training in molecular virology at the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School). She has spent most of her professional career involved in the application and transfer of basic research to the health care field. Her professional experience includes graduate and medical school teaching; publications in scientific and medical journals; director of a statewide genetics screening program; membership on NIH grant review committees; executive consultant with private research laboratories and health care organizations; television producer and radio producer and host.
Dr. Harris has a longstanding interest in preventive health care and health disparities. Her involvement includes work at the national level to develop guidelines for the implementation of newborn screening for sickle cell disease; board member of the Atlanta chapter of the March of Dimes to help address the issue of the high incidence of mortality among African–American infants; and volunteer work with low–income African–American teenage girls to help reduce teenage pregnancy.
Based upon research supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Harris and BTC have created innovative, award–winning media products. Dr. Harris was executive producer of "To My Sisters... A Gift for Life" — a documentary about breast cancer and African–American Women, an award–winning television special viewed by an estimated 3.5 million minority women. More than 8,000 copies of the documentary video also have been distributed. Dr. Harris also served as executive producer and host of "Journey To Wellness®" — the only nationally syndicated radio program focusing on health care issues of importance to African–Americans. The call–in talk show was carried by public radio stations in more than 50 media markets throughout the country. Currently, Dr. Harris is executive producer and host of weekly CNN Radio feature, "Journey To Wellness®," which is distributed to CNN’s 2,500 radio affiliates. The radio feature supported with a grant from the National Institutes of Health, addresses ways to use current medical research to improve daily living.
With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Harris produced a series of four documentaries for broadcast on public radio in the spring of 2005. The documentaries focused on the root cause of health disparities in the areas of cancer, obesity and chronic disease, and HIV/AIDS. A second series of documentaries (also funded by the National Institutes of Health) will be produced for Spring 2006.
Dr. Harris has received numerous awards and honors for her work in the area of media and public health.
Dr. Harris has received the collaborative support of numerous organizations in her work, including:
- National Cancer Institute
- National Medical Association
- Morehouse School of Medicine
- Emory University School of Medicine
- Breast Cancer Clinic of Emory University
- Grady Hospital Sickle Cell Anemia Program
- American Cancer Society (local and national)
- American Heart Association
- Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies
- National Rural Health Association
- American Diabetes Association (national)
- Arthritis Foundation (national)