Professor at the School of Law since 1990, Vernellia Randall writes extensively on and speaks internationally about race, women, and health care. She is the recipient of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health Chairman’s Award, and she was named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential African-Americans” on the 2001 Black Equal Opportunity Employment Journal list.
Professor Randall hasn’t always been associated with the study or practice of law. “I grew up during Jim Crow in the South,” she said. “If you were a black woman going to college, you either became a nurse or a teacher.” She chose nursing. She did like the profession, though, and had worked in nursing homes while in high school. As a nurse, Professor Randall provided public health nursing services and served as an administrator for a statewide health program in Alaska.
Involved in public health work for more than 15 years, Professor Randall focused on eliminating disparities in health care for minorities and the poor. She believed a thorough knowledge of the law would help her become more effective in her mission, so she enrolled in law school. After graduating in 1987 from Lewis and Clark Law School, she became an associate with a Portland, Oregon, law firm specializing in health care law and issues relating to health and disability insurance coverage. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Lewis and Clark College.
She soon turned to teaching full time, wanting to make a “greater intellectual impact.” She has never regretted the decision. “I love the ‘aha!’ moments that students get,” she said.
Currently the Director of the Academic Excellence Program, Professor Randall helps nontraditional law students get a head start on the skills necessary to succeed in law school. She says the program can benefit racial minorities, students with disabilities, students who are at an economic and educational disadvantage, and nontraditional students, such as older students or music majors. “Failing is not about intellect in law school,” she said. “It’s about learning styles, study behaviors, and access to appropriate exam preparation information. Our academic support program gives access to nontraditional students who don’t often receive the right information early on.”
Since coming to the School of Law, Professor Randall has also served as a consultant to the Clinton administration advisory committee on health care reform and as a grant reviewer for the National Institute of Health. She was an expert witness in the State of Missouri v. Philip Morris trial and has been recognized in Who's Who in the World since 1995 and Who's Who in the United States since 1998. Randall is also a co-organizer of the Miami Valley Community Summit on Eliminating Racism
In addition, Professor Randall is the editor and webmaster for four academic websites on race, health care, gender, and academic support. She maintains several website: http://academic.udayton.edu/race/ , http://academic.udayton.edu/health/, http://academic.udayton.edu/legaled/ .
More importantly, she is the proud mother of her adult sons (Tshaka and Issa) and the Nanna of two grandkids.