A Southern girl from Greenville, Alabama, Dr. Veronica Womack’s background and personal ties to rural people and communities connect to her Black Belt Region research. To gain a better understanding of rural community needs and lack of adequate resources, Womack has dedicated her academic work and time to develop realistic solutions that help underserved rural areas sustain for generations to come. National organizations supporting Womack’s present-day fieldwork:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Grant

    During 2017, Womack earned a two-year, $150,000 seed grant from USDA to analyze how agricultural policy has been implemented in the rural South. In addition to examining policy, she facilitates listening sessions with farmers; documents trends taking place within Black Belt culture and agriculture; and identifies the best resources and programs from the USDA’s Farm Bill to assist growing rural communities and under-resourced black farmers. Womack plans to share her community-based findings with Washington, D.C., decision makers in an effort to assist change. Her goal is to ensure that listening session participants are more informed about rural development policies, programs and services in order to benefit them and the areas they live and work in.

  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant

    During 2017, Womack joined the foundation’s leadership development program: Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL). The IRL program includes 15 teams — two researchers, one community leader from across the nation — who spend three years addressing health disparities and building healthier communities with the help of a three-year $350,000 grant. Womack is collaborating with team members Tracy McCurty, executive director of the Black Belt Justice Center in Washington, D.C., and Marcus Bernard, director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives’ Rural Training and Research Center in Gainesville, Alabama, in the Alabama cohort. Focusing on Alabama, they are studying health, health equity and the culture of health as it relates to African-Americans in the Black Belt South.