In Memoriam: Louis Graham (1982 –2019)

Louis Graham

January 13, 2020

Louis Graham, assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Policy at UMass Amherst from 2013-2018, passed away suddenly on December 29, 2019. Graham received his BA from Carleton College, his MPH from Morehouse School of Medicine, and his DrPH from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Graham’s research addressed the health effects of marginality, including effects of racism, homophobia and gender minority discrimination. He was the Principal Investigator of a large grant funded by the National Institute of Minority Health & Health Disparities, investigating chronic disease prevention with the Men of Color Health Awareness (MOCHA) program in Springfield, MA. This community-based participatory research project focused on stress and resilience among low-income African-American men.

“Dr. Graham was an intellectual, a deep and innovative thinker, and a cherished colleague,” said David Buchanan, professor emeritus of health promotion and policy and co-PI of the MOCHA study. “His legacy will live on in the Stories Matter curriculum that he developed with MOCHA and that continues to touch the lives of so many black men living in the Springfield area.”

Graham was a central figure in establishing the UMass Amherst Center for Community Health Equity Research (CCHER), whose intersectional approach reflects his commitment to understanding the complex nature of oppression and the need to address multiple forms of inequality at once. His insights and provocative contributions pushed his colleagues and friends to think more deeply about their lives, work and actions. His scholarship was nationally recognized by the Harold Dean Philpot Leadership Award for Excellence in National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities (2011), which he received while he was a W.K. Kellogg Health Scholars Program Postdoctoral Fellow (2010-2012).

“Through his successful community partnerships and mentorship, Dr. Graham’s work made a measurable difference in the lives and futures of many. His loss is a tremendous blow to the fields of community health education, community-based participatory research, and to research on structurally-rooted health inequity,” said CCHER Director Susan Shaw.

A memorial service is being planned for Saturday, January 25, from 11:00am-2:00pm at the Progressive Community Baptist Church, 599 State St., Springfield, MA. All are welcome to attend.