Robert Turner Robert Turner
Associate Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership
Associate Professor of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine (Secondary)

Office Phone: 202-994-5105
Email: Email
Department: Clinical Research and Leadership


  • Bachelor of Arts in Communications, James Madison University, 1985
  • Masters of Science in Sociology, Queens College, City University of New York, 2007
  • Ph.D., Sociology, The Graduate Center of City University of New York, 2010


Dr. Robert W. Turner II is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Research and Leadership, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Neurology, at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He is a health disparities researcher with ethnographic and mixed methods training. His current National Institute on Aging (NIA) funded K01 award examines psychosocial and neurocognitive risk and protective factors, accelerated cognitive aging & mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) among former NCAA Division I and former NFL athletes. This line of research encompasses understanding how traumatic injury, as an occupational hazard, hinders daily living and career planning over the life course. These are many of the same concerns faced by military personnel returning from war.

His book manuscript, Not For Long: The life and career of the NFL athlete (Oxford University Press, August 2018) is an ethnographic project that offers a descriptive analysis of the social world of NFL athletes based on the author’s personal experience as a former professional football player, interviews with current and former players, archived resources that discusses the socialization of young athletes, the relationship between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, and how athletes transition to life after football.


08/2017 K01AG054762-01A1 (PI: Robert Turner, PhD) “Accelerated Cognitive Aging and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury among Former College and Professional Football Players: Psychosocial and Neurocognitive Risk and Protective Factors” NIA Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01). Tim Strauman, PhD, (Lead-Mentor), Keith Whitfield, PhD, (Co-Mentor), Toni Antonucci, PhD, (Co-Mentor), ($613,076.00), Robert Turner, PhD, Role: PI
09/2015 5 P30 AG015281 (PI: James S. Jackson, PhD) “Black Male Health-Seeking Behavior and Accelerated Aging: Coping with Chronic Pain and Traumatic Injury among NFL Athletes.” NIA Diversity Supplement; Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR), ($375,000), Robert Turner, PhD, Role: Investigator.
05/2014 Dean’s Research Initiative grant, College of Behavioral and Social Science office of the Dean, and African American Studies Department, University of Maryland, College Park, ($5,870), Robert Turner, Role: PI. 
12/2012 NC TraCS Translational Research Pilot Grant, North Carolina Translational & Clinical Science Institute, UNC-Chapel Hill, ($2,000), Robert Turner, PhD, Role: PI.


09/2017 Rising Star Award, U13 Bedside-to-Bench Series, Sensory Impairment and Cognitive Decline, Supported by the National Institute of Aging and American Geriatric Society
08/2015 – Present Diversity Scholar, Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, MI
06/2010 Fellow, Emerging Scholars Interdisciplinary Network Summer Fellowship Program in Allied Multi-Ethnic Research at ICSPR, The University of Michigan
08/2009 Arnold L. Mitchem Dissertation & Teaching Fellow, Marquette University, Milwaukee WI.
08/2009 American Sociological Society, National Institute of Mental Health Pre-doctoral Minority Fellowship.
09/2009 Educational Opportunity and Diversity Magnet Program Fellowship, The Graduate Center, CUNY.
09/2008 Writing Fellowship, CUNY New York City College of Technology.
09/2002 - 2004 Dean K. Harrison Fellowship, CUNY Graduate Center.

Centers and Institutes

  1. Dr. Robert W. Turner II is an affiliated faculty member of the GW Institute for Brain Health and Dementia. The Institute aims to promote and support research on cognitive health that will meaningfully impact lives, through promotion of brain health, prevention of cognitive loss, addressing disparities in cognitive health, and improving the quality of life of persons living with dementia and their care partners. For more information about the GW Institute for Brain Health and Dementia, please visit our website.
  2. Program to Increase Diversity in Behavioral Medicine and Sleep Disorders Research (PRIDE) faculty, Cohort 6, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Summer 2017
  3. Grant Writing Uncovered: Maximizing Strategies, Help, Opportunity, Experience Program (GUMSHOE), Fall 2016
  4. National Institute on Aging (NIA) Butler-Williams Scholars Program, NIH Campus, Bethesda, Maryland, Summer 2015
  5. Intersectional Qualitative Research Methods Institute. Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity. The University of Maryland-CP, Summer 2015
  6. Scholar, Public Health Critical Race Praxis Institute, Maryland Center for Health Equity, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 2015.


Turner, R.W., II. NFL Means Not For Long: The Life and Career of the Star and the Journeyman. Oxford University Press. Publication date: August, 2018. (Book)

Turner, R. W., II, Lucas, J.W., Margolis, L.H., Corwell, B.N. (2017). A Preliminary Study of Youth-Sport Concussions: What Factors Determine Parents’ Return-to-Play Decision Making. Brain Injury, 1-7. DOI 10.1080/02699052.2017

Turner, R. W., II., Perrin, E. M., Coyne-Beasley, T., Peterson, C. J., & Skinner, A. C. (2015). Reported Sports Participation, Race, Sex, Ethnicity, and Obesity in US Adolescents From NHANES Physical Activity (PAQ_D). Global Pediatric Health, 2, 2333794X15577944.

Turner, R. W., II; Southall, R.; Eckard, E.W. (2015) “Athlete Graduation Rate Gaps at Division-I State Flagship Universities: An Exploratory Analysis Emphasizing Black Males.” Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men, Vol. 3, Issue 3, Spring, 2015.

Cockrell-Skinner, A.; Hasty, S.; Turner, R.W., II; Dreibelbis, M.; Lohr, J.A. (2013) “Is Bigger Really Better? Obesity Among Football Players, Player Position, and Team Success.” Clinical Pediatrics, CLP-A-13-163: 922-8

Weight, E.; Osborne, B.; Turner, R.W., II (2012) “A New Collegiate Model: Intra-collegiate Athletics at BYU-Idaho.” Case Studies in Sport Management. CSSM: Volume 1

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None