Dr. Tyra Toston Gross
Dr. Tyra Toston Gross is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Xavier University of Louisiana, where she is a public health instructor, researcher and mentor. The goal of Dr. Tyra's research is wellness promotion and disease prevention in vulnerable populations, with a particular interest in health disparities along the lines of race, age and income. Dr. Tyra first became fascinated with breastfeeding during her undergraduate studies at Louisiana State University (LSU) while studying nutrition because she saw no one in her family nor community then breastfeeding. After learning about racial disparities in breastfeeding rates, she gained her Master of Public Health degree at LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC). She later completed her PhD in in Health Promotion & Behavior at the University of Georgia, where she focused on successful long-term breastfeeding experiences of African-American mothers enrolled in Georgia WIC for her dissertation.
One memorable experience for Dr. Tyra was when she traveled to Ghana, West Africa for study abroad as a graduate student to learn more about breastfeeding and community health practices there. Prior to joining Xavier, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in reproductive women’s health at University of Texas Medical Branch. Given her interest in maternal & child health, the majority of her research has focused on the health of reproductive-age women. Topics have ranged from group prenatal care models to HPV vaccination. In addition to her work examining breastfeeding in low-income African-American women. Dr. Tyra's current research projects include exploring the health of college African-American women, working with the Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative (TCI) at LSUHSC to outreach to low-income pregnant and postpartum smokers to design smoking cessation and breastfeeding promotion interventions. Her proudest accomplishments, though, are being a devoted wife to her husband Bantu and the mother of two beautiful toddlers, son Amari (age 2), and daughter Nia (age 1) (And yes both were breastfed!).