Fran Close, PhD

Fran T. Close, Ph.D., is full Professor of Behavioral Science and Health Education in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences/Institute of Public Health at Florida A&M University (FAMU).  Though trained as a pharmacologist, Dr. Close’s interest in women’s health research came during her postdoctoral training where she was involved in a basic science study that had implications for female infertility.  These published studies ignited her passion, and she began to work on public health related research studies.  Dr. Close has spent over 20 years focusing much of her research on community-based participatory research in underserved communities.  Her research interests are in the area of racial disparity issues in Women’s Health and Maternal, Child and Infant Health. Her research involves working with various communities across the state of Florida to address black infant mortality issues.  Dr. Close has been the Principal Investigator for a research project sponsored by the Florida Department of Health where she conducted focus groups across the State to investigate infant sleep practices and to introduce the concept of the purpose-built box for infants.

Because of your outstanding work, Dr. Close was appointed by the State Surgeon General to the Intra-Agency Workgroup on Infant Mortality Prevention External Review Workgroup.  Dr. Close has served as the President of the Board of Directors for the Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition, twice.  Through her leadership on the Racial Disparity Taskforce for Infant Health, Dr. Close implemented a research component on pregnancy related issues that targets African American women of childbearing age.

Dr. Close has served two terms on the United Way of the Big Bend’s Board of Directors. In addition, she was the Chair of the United Way’s Health Council, where they explored mental health in the Tallahassee community as well as dental programs for school age children in Leon and Gadsden Counties. As the Chair of the United Way Health Council, she was instrumental in conducting research on “Perception of Stress and Health-related burdens among Leon County Residents”. Dr. Close is a member of the Mental Health Council of the Big Bend, where she serves as the Chair of the ENGAGE committee focusing on stigma of mental health in the African American community.

Dr. Close holds a doctorate degree in Pharmacology/Toxicology from Florida A&M University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science from Florida State University.  Out of all of this, Dr. Close considers the title of “Mommy” her greatest accomplishment…She is the mother of three beautiful girls, Nia, Nataki and Nyla.