Dr. Wilkins is currently a Principal Investigator of three NIH-funded centers: 1) the Vanderbilt-Miami-Meharry Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine and Population Health, which focuses on decreasing disparities among African Americans and Latinos using precision medicine, 2) the Vanderbilt Recruitment Innovation Center, a national center dedicated to enhancing recruitment and retention in clinical trials, and 3) and the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Vanderbilt’s virtual home for clinical and translational research. She is widely recognized for her work in stakeholder and community engagement and has pioneered methods of stakeholder engagement that involve community members and patients in research across the translational spectrum. One approach is the Community Engagement Studio — a model of engagement that can be used to elicit project-specific input from patients and communities at any stage of clinical or translational research.
As Director of the Engagement Core of the All of Us Research Program (a component of the Precision Medicine Initiative), Dr. Wilkins oversees initiatives that meaningfully engage research participants in the governance, oversight, implementation, and dissemination of the program. She has pioneered methods of stakeholder engagement that involve community members and patients in all stages of biomedical and health research.
Prior to joining the faculty at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2012, Dr. Wilkins was an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, with secondary appointments in Psychiatry and Surgery (Public Health Sciences) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She served as the founding Director of the Center for Community Health and Partnerships in the Institute for Public Health, the Co-Director of the Center for Community-Engaged Research in the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, and the Director of “Our Community, Our Health,” a collaborative program with St. Louis University to disseminate culturally relevant health information and facilitate community-academic partnerships to address health disparities.
Dr. Wilkins is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and serves on numerous other boards and committees such as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on the Return of Individual - Specific Research Results Generated in Research, AAMC Journal Oversight Committee for Academic Medicine Laboratories, Safety Net Consortium of Middle Tennessee, and the AcademyHealth Translation and Dissemination Institute Advisory Committee. Dr. Wilkins is an invited speaker around the country and a mentor to many junior faculty and health professions students.