Melissa C. Green Parker, Ph.D.

In my current role as a Health Scientist Administrator/Scientific Advisor at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), I provide leadership within its Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) to promote trans-agency collaboration and innovation in the broad space of prevention research.

While I started my career as a basic scientist/cancer researcher, my professional experiences and interests over the past 30 years have moved me from “the bench” to society. The population health needs that exist today offer numerous opportunities for me to give attention to the vast geographic, socioeconomic, and sociodemographic gaps that are crippling health systems across the U.S. and beyond.

Prior to joining the ODP, I led community-based initiatives (both scientific and training) during my tenure as a Program Director at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). I also spent several years overseeing two research management teams at the Department of Defense (DoD). In this capacity, I offered guidance and support to research investigators across the world as they conducted interdisciplinary research projects aimed at transforming healthcare for Service Members, Veterans and the American public. As the Science and Technology Division Director for a local, non-federal organization, I partnered with numerous federal agencies (e.g., NASA, Dept. of Energy, DoD) to enhance the quality and excellence of biomedical education. While fostering connections with inspiring colleagues across the entire scientific landscape, it was very rewarding to recruit scholars from traditionally under-served backgrounds and retain them in the federal workforce.

I joined the Board of directors of Iona Senior Services (Iona) in January of 2022 due to my interests in supporting my mother and other family members with aging in place. My commitment to Iona’s mission is further cemented by the personal experience of my father’s premature passing. I can only imagine how helpful it would’ve been to garner support through Iona’s robust network of programs and services to enhance his quality of life.

Health disparities and inequities among members of the elderly population are certainly taking a toll. Therefore, it’s a great pleasure and honor to join Iona’s Board of Directors.  I’m a firm believer in Iona’s mission and remain committed its growth in the years to come, especially as it relates to improving health, life, and longevity among our most vulnerable populations.

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Claflin University (Orangeburg, SC) and doctorate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Indiana University School of Medicine (Indianapolis, IN). My husband and I have one son that we adore. If I’m not busy chaperoning the budding athlete back and forth to his practices/games, it’s likely that you’ll find me volunteering with a community service group (local PTA, church, sorority, etc.), listening to a good book, or watching a crime drama on television.