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Meet Our Staff

To manage and carry out our ambitious agenda, the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence will need a staff of five: Principal Investigator, Medical Director, Project Director, and two Coordinators. Given the collaborative nature of our approach, our consultants, subcontractors, and community of partner organizations will be deeply involved in this work.


Principal Investigator: Dawn Tyus, PhD, LPC dawn tyus

Along with her role as Principal Investigator (PI) of the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, Dawn Tyus is also the PI and the Director of the Southeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center (SATTC), a member of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center National Network and a sister center to the new AABH-COE at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). Dr. Tyus has been affiliated with MSM and SATTC for 14 years, first as a Project Consultant, and then as Director beginning in 2009. At the Southeast ATTC, Dr. Tyus has consistently taken a visionary approach to her leadership and management duties. Among the innovative programs she has spearheaded there are the Center’s “Minority to Priority” initiative, focusing on the strengths and needs of African Americans; and a faith initiative aimed at bridging secular and spiritual efforts to address substance use disorders, called “Let’s Have the Conversation! One Voice: One Mission.” Dr. Tyus is also on the board of the Georgia School of Addiction Studies and the Advisory Board of Clark Atlanta University’s HBCU C.A.R.E.S. She brings a wealth of experience from a wide variety of professional perspectives, with a background ranging over many disciplines, including the not-for-profit and corporate sectors, government services, professional counseling, consulting practice, strategic planning, and group and individual coaching. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Studies from Capella University, and both her Master of Education degree in Community Counseling and her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Mercer University. Dr. Tyus is also a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Georgia, where she provides family, individual, and group behavioral health therapy.


Medical Director: Sarah Vinson, MDSarah Vinson

Sarah Y. Vinson, M.D., F.A.P.A. is a physician who specializes in adult, child and adolescent, and forensic psychiatry. She is the founder of the Lorio Psych Group, an Atlanta, GA-based mental health practice providing expert care and consultation. Dr. Vinson is also the founder of Lorio Forensics, which provides consultation in a wide variety of criminal, civil, and family court cases. After graduating from medical school at the University of Florida with Research Honors and as an Inductee in the Chapman Humanism Honors Society, she completed her general psychiatry training at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School. While there, she also received specialized training in trauma through the Victims of Violence Program. She then returned to the South to complete fellowships in both child and adolescent and forensic psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine.

In addition to providing mental health care services such as psychotherapy, consultation, and psychopharmacology through her private practice, Dr. Vinson is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine. Just two years after joining the faculty she was honored as Psychiatry and Faculty of the Year in 2015. She is also Adjunct Faculty at Emory University School of Medicine. She has been elected and/or appointed to national and statewide office by her professional peers. She is the Past President of the Georgia Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Treasurer of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. Additionally, she is an Advisor for the Judges Psychiatry Leadership Initiative. She has been a speaker at national conferences, including the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Meeting, and The National Urban League Annual Meeting. Dr. Vinson has received numerous awards in recognition of her service and leadership, including the University of Florida College of Medicine Outstanding Young Alumna Award and the APA Jeanne Spurlock Minority Fellowship Alumna Achievement Award

Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator: Rev. Cameron Cunningham, MDivCameron Cunningham

Rev. Cunningham is the training and technical assistance coordinator at the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (AABH-CoE) housed at The National Center of Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. His professional work is grounded in creating a more equitable society suitable to uplift all people and their total potential. Rev. Cunningham's leadership approach is to use faith as a tool of common ground to build interdisciplinary bridges for future generations. In 2019, Rev. Cunningham received Honorable recognition from the General Assembly of the State of Ohio Senate and the 32nd Ohio House of Representatives for his ministry work and impact within the City of Cincinnati.

As Reverend Cameron Allen Cunningham progresses in his commitment to transformational and culture-shifting ministry the focus and goals remain the same; to remain consistent with visions of effective activism, a deep desire for continued learning, and fueled passions for transformational preaching.

Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator: Pilar JacksonPilar Jackson

Pilar Jackson is the Training and Technical Assistance Program Manager at the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (AABH-CoE) housed at the National Center of Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Temple University, College of Public Health, with her B.S. in Public Health. In addition, she was also chosen and recognized as a Center for Disease Undergraduate Public Health Scholar (CUPS) and completed an immersive residential program at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health, where she received leadership training, practical field experience, and completed intensive research for a Community Health Needs Assessment in Ypsilanti, MI.

Her professional work is rooted in leadership and programmatic positions working directly with diverse populations across the non-profit, colleges/universities, media, and government sectors. Her passions include substance misuse and suicide prevention, maternal and infant health, as well as mental health promotion, education, and awareness. She understands the vitalness of a strong and diverse public health system to address health inequities and disparities within diverse populations. Her passions are deeply rooted in her commitment to serving and strengthening communities by educating communities in order to ensure a more equitable, culturally competent and inclusive behavioral health system.