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Amazing Grace: Antronette Yancey


By Kristine Breese

Published Jul 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Q. You also suggest walking meetings. How does that work?

A. Why is it that we think a meeting has to be a bunch of people sitting around a table? Dr. Breslow started this here in our department (in the School of Public Health) and, if anything, I'd say we have more productive meetings when we walk, not less. And think about the food we serve at meetings: soda, doughnuts, pastries. We need to start offering water, fruit, salads. All these little things will add up.

Q. You've been a model, a doctor, a professor, a basketball player, a poet, musician and author. If you had to choose one, which would it be?

Heart and Mind

Sample cuts of Toni Yancey's poetry at Discover this Renaissance woman’s art on her CD, available at And log on to the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities at for information on how to get and stay healthy, including training opportunities for those interested in leading exercise breaks in meetings or classes, and to order the CD Fuel Up/Lift Off!.

A. Oh, don't make me choose. That was one of the great things about my parents. Not only did my parents not make me choose, they supported my wide and varied interests. In addition to sports and studies, I played the violin and was on the chess team, and that was just the early years before basketball, medicine and poetry. The same was true for my big brother. He's a businessman, minister, actor and singer in Fort Worth. The message we got from my folks growing up was 'you can do anything,' and when we took them up on the offer, they were there supporting us the whole way.

Q. OK, but I'm not your parents and I'm going to make you choose.

A. Well, alright. If I could do only one thing for the rest of my life, it would be to be a professor at UCLA. And I'm not just saying that so you and your readers will feel good. I say that because it lets me cheat just a little bit. Being a professor at UCLA allows me to do most everything I love.

Q. But no singing or poetry.

A. You'd be surprised.