Taylor Taylor, Ph.D., M.Ed.

Before becoming a Benjamin-Carver FIRST Scientist, Taylor Taylor was Tennessee born and raised in Huntsville. Taylor began her academic career at Auburn University with a degree in Health Promotion and Wellness and a Master of Education in Exercise Science. In this spotlight series on the Benjamin-Carver Scientists, we’re giving readers an inside look at the cohort members’ educational history and plans for future research.

For over 20 years, the UAB Minority Health & Health Equity Research Center has been working to translate science into better health for all. Nowhere is the need for such research more evident than in the deep South. To continue working toward health equity, UAB and Tuskegee University recognize the importance of building inclusive excellence at both institutions.

To cultivate this environment, longtime partners—UAB and Tuskegee University—received funding from the National Institutes of Health Common Fund to establish a community of scientists committed to inclusive excellence. Throughout 2023, the Benjamin-Carver FIRST program has actively recruited faculty and welcomed them into their respective peer cluster community.

Meet Taylor Taylor, Ph.D., M.Ed.

Buchanan left her home state to earn a doctorate in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida, where she graduated in 2020.

Returning to Alabama, Taylor completed her postdoctoral research, funded by the NIH/NIGMS K12 MERIT Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award, at the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine (UCEM).

During her graduate studies in Alabama and Florida, Taylor was a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She saw how exercise empowered individuals and improved their physical and emotional health. These experiences inspired a desire to use research to empower more people—especially those experiencing chronic pain.

It was important to her to do her research at UAB because, as Taylor explained, “UAB is centered within a community that is significantly impacted by chronic pain, and thus, I want to be able to support and empower those, particularly older adults, to help manage their pain, maintain their independence, and improve their overall quality of life.

“UAB has a wide range of resources available to foster collaborations and team science necessary for my research.”

Taylor Taylor, Ph.D., M.Ed.

She currently serves as an assistant professor within the Department of Family and Community Medicine and co-leader of the Clinical Research and Admin Team for UCEM. Her research program focuses on chronic pain management in older adults. Specifically, assessing the impact of exercise on neuroinflammation, affect, and pain outcomes in older adults living with fibromyalgia.

Taylor is also a National Institute on Aging Butler-Williams Scholar, a program providing opportunities for junior faculty, researchers, and postdoctoral fellows to gain insight into aging research.

In 2023, Taylor became part of the FIRST cohort of scientists signed to the Benjamin-Carver FIRST program.

“As an early career scientist from a minority background, I saw the FIRST program as an opportunity to gain tools, resources, and support to help me overcome barriers that many face when pursuing a research career in academia and—in the future—help others to do the same,” explained Taylor. “I have gained resource and infrastructure support at the institutional and department levels and also a network of peer support from other minority early career scientists in the FIRST cohort as we progress through our careers.”