HDRI 2023 Scholars

Dr. Tanisha F. Aflague

Tanisha F. Aflague, Ph.D., RDN

Dr. Tanisha F. Aflague is an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Guam. Her research interests focus on childhood obesity and disease prevention in Guam and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) through diet and lifestyle changes with a Pacific focus. Dr. Aflague's contributions to the field of dietary assessment include novel methods among children that have documented the transition from local to imported foods in children's diets and are applicable in underrepresented populations, like the USAPI. She is a registered dietitian and lectures on a variety of nutrition topics, including issues relevant to the Pacific. Dr. Aflague's previous and current work involves community-based participatory research strategies to address health disparities. She graduated with a BS in food science and human nutrition in 2004 and a Ph.D. in nutrition in 2015, both from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Between this time, she earned an MS in nutrition from Eastern Michigan University in 2008. In 2015, Dr. Aflague became faculty at the Cooperative Extension & Outreach, University of Guam, where she is the coordinator of two federally-funded programs (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) and held leadership roles as chair of the graduate program in sustainable agriculture, food, and natural resources and division chair for the Agriculture & Life Sciences Division of the College and Natural and Applied Sciences.

Dr. Rumi Agarwal

Rumi Agarwal, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.

Dr. Rumi Agarwal is a Research Assistant Professor at FIU Embrace, a Center for Advancing Inclusive Communities at Florida International University. Her research is focused on improving academic, employment, independent living, and social outcomes for young adults with developmental disabilities and alleviating disparities in outcomes by examining the intersection of disability, race, and ethnicity. In addition, her research explores the role and well-being of parents caring for these young adults across the lifespan. This includes identifying optimal parenting styles and addressing stressors that influence mental health, such as financial strain. To support her research agenda, Dr. Agarwal has been awarded funding from the Social Security Administration's (SSA’s) Analyzing Relationships between Disability, Rehabilitation and Work Small Grant Program to explore financial planning, specifically the utilization, barriers, and facilitators of the SSA’s Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) program among these families. She has been recognized by the Health Resources and Services Administration Division of Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development for her work on autism, and is also an active member of the American Public Health Association, where she has held several leadership roles. Dr. Agarwal graduated with a BBA (2000) from École des Roches, Switzerland, an M.B.A. (2003) from Northwood University, and an M.P.H. (2017) and Ph.D. in public health (2021) from Florida International University.

Dr. Mariel Bello

Mariel Bello, Ph.D.

Dr. Mariel Bello is a NIDA T32 postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Bello’s program of research focuses on investigating the etiology and underlying mechanisms of substance use disorders among diverse populations in order to inform the development of innovative, culturally-tailored treatments for substance use in underserved groups. Majority of her work utilizes human laboratory-based, behavioral pharmacology methods to explore racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, mental health, and gender-related health disparities across the substance use trajectory. As a postdoctoral research fellow, her current research explores the intersection between social and contextual factors (e.g., discrimination, financial strain) and the psychopharmacological effects of smoking among socially disadvantaged youth, young adults, and adults who smoke cigarettes. Her work has been supported by grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the University of Southern California Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science. Dr. Bello received her BS in psychology from the University of California, Riverside in 2013. She earned her Ph.D. in clinical science from University of Southern California in 2022 and completed her predoctoral internship at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Additionally, as a pre-licensed clinical psychologist, she provides evidence-based outpatient psychological services to clients from marginalized backgrounds in Rhode Island.

Dr. Judite Blanc

Judite Blanc, Ph.D.

Dr. Judite Blanc is a research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Center for Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences and founding director of the newly created Holistic Families Lab (HFL), both at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Her goals with the HFL are a) to leverage innovative ethnographical and integrative medicine tools to investigate and tackle cumulative intersectional stressors, b) to evaluate the stressor responses among marginalized families, women, and children, and c) to provide solutions for transforming the lives of families, women, and children through science, education/training, community services, and advocacy in the U.S. and globally. Dr. Blanc graduated from the State University of Haiti with a bachelor's degree in general psychology in 2007. Later, she earned her master's degree in health psychology and psychopathology from the Université de Toulouse 2 in 2011 and her doctorate in clinical psychology at the Université de Paris 13 Sorbonne Paris Cité in France in 2015. She completed a three-year, NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship in population health at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine in 2021, where she received extensive training and conducted hands-on research in sleep health and behavioral cardiovascular medicine. Her academic work, research, and initiatives have led to approximately 70 publications. Findings from her studies led to unique perspectives on the role of chronic stress and trauma on poor health outcomes among immigrants and how psychological resilience may buffer and protect against poor sleep and overall health outcomes. An intergenerational trauma and intersectional stress expert, she is among the contributors to the collective book Psychological Legacy of Slavery: Essays on Traumas, Healing, and The Living Past, which was selected as one of the best academic books in 2022 by Choice, a publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries, which is a division of the American Library Association.

Dr. Joshua A. Budhu

Joshua A. Budhu, M.D., M.S., M.P.H.

Dr. Joshua A. Budhu is a neuro-oncologist and the inaugural Nicholls-Biondi Diversity Clinical Scientist Faculty Scholar at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Budhu is a health equity researcher and a Public Voices Fellow at AcademyHealth through the OpEd Project. His work focuses on increasing health care access for underserved patients and improving diversity in clinical trials. Dr. Budhu’s mission to eliminate health disparities stems from the death of his eldest brother in police custody from a preventable pulmonary embolus. Dr. Budhu also writes articles for a wide audience about his experience as a physician and other health-related matters. He co-authored op-eds for the Washington Post and Brookings Institution denouncing the pseudoscientific concept “excited delirium.” He won the Society for Neuro-Oncology Healthcare Equity Award in 2022 and is the diversity, equity, and inclusion editor for the Neurology journal. Dr. Budhu received his BA in economics from New York University, his M.S. in biomedical sciences from Rosalind Franklin University, his M.D. from Morehouse School of Medicine, and his M.P.H. in health policy from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a Commonwealth Fund Fellow in minority health policy. He completed his neurology and neuro-oncology training at Harvard within the Mass General Brigham and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute system.

Dr. Lorel E. Burns

Lorel E. Burns, D.D.S., M.S.

Dr. Lorel E. Burns is an assistant professor at New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry in the Department of Endodontics. Dr. Burns’s research interests are relate to access to dental care and include dental care affordability, disparities in the provision and outcomes of endodontic treatment, and diversity of the dental workforce. One example of Dr. Burns’s research is her study of racial differences in the provision and outcomes of root canal therapy among New York State pediatric Medicaid beneficiaries. Dr. Burns graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in health and societies with a concentration in health care markets and finance. Dr. Burns earned her D.D.S. degree at NYU College of Dentistry in 2015, before completing her clinical specialty training in Endodontics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 2017. She was awarded her master’s degree in clinical investigation by NYU School of Medicine in 2019. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Harold Amos scholar, is funded with a career development award (K01 2019-2024, NIDCR), and is an MPI for a Summer Research Education Experience Program for undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds (R25 2022-2027, NIDCR).

Dr. Ricky Camplain

Ricky Camplain, Ph.D.

Dr. Ricky Camplain (she/her/hers) is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington. Her research focuses on disease prevention and health promotion of individuals incarcerated with a primary focus on understanding—in partnership with communities—the health needs of those at the intersection of being Indigenous and incarcerated. Dr. Camplain employs epidemiologic methods to determine how culture, policy, and the social and structural determinants of health in the county and tribal correctional systems can impact health, health behavior, and social justice. Her partnerships span the federal, state, county, tribal, and community levels. Dr. Camplain is funded through an NIMHD K01 award to develop sustainable physical activity programs to those incarcerated in jail and an RCMI research project on the relationship between physical activity and sedentary behavior with health outcomes among people incarcerated in jail. She was a CDC Millennial Health Leadership Summit Scholar (2014), a University of Wisconsin—Madison Health Equity Leadership Institute Scholar (2018), an Indigenous Wellness Research Institute Indigenous Substance Abuse, Medicines, and Addictions Research Training (ISMART) Fellow (2018), a CDC Physical Activity and Public Health Research Course Fellow (2018), and a Promoting Indigenous Research Leadership Scholar (2022). Dr. Camplain graduated with a BA in chemistry in 2011 from the University of New Mexico. She earned her M.S.P.H. and Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014 and 2017, respectively. She completed a postdoc at the Northern Arizona University Center for Health Equity Research in 2019.

Dr. Ana Paola Campos

Ana Paola Campos, Ph.D.

Dr. Ana Paola Campos is a postdoctoral research scholar at the Global Center for Applied Health Research in Arizona State University. She graduated with a master’s degree in nutrition from Iberoamericana University in Mexico City in 2015, and earned her Ph.D. in social work from Boston College in 2019. She was awarded the American Society for Nutrition’s Global Nutrition Early Career Scholar Award in 2021 and 2022. Dr. Campos’s research interests include prevention and management of malnutrition, including obesity, eating disorders, and substance use among children and adolescents, using behavioral interventions. She has mostly focused on studying risk and protective factors for malnutrition and associated negative health behaviors among Hispanic children. Her research is grounded in the ecological systems theory, the social determinants of health model, and cultural perspectives. Dr. Campos’s current research interests have been shaped by a gradual evolution of personal and professional experiences from diverse clinic- and community-based research projects in Mexico, Guatemala, and the U.S., where she witnessed health disparities emerge from upstream and downstream pathways. Building on previous research, her short-term goal involves adapting and testing a parenting intervention to prevent child obesity among Hispanic families in the U.S., with the long-term goal of scaling up to a sustainable and cost-effective program that can be implemented broadly.

Dr. Francisco Cartujano-Barrera

Francisco Cartujano-Barrera, M.D.

Dr. Francisco Cartujano-Barrera (he/his/él) is an assistant professor of public health sciences and community health and prevention at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). Moreover, he is an assistant director of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement at Wilmot Cancer Institute, part of URMC. Dr. Cartujano earned his M.D. from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (English: The Autonomous University of the State of Morelos) in Mexico. He then completed a research fellowship in preventive medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center, followed by a research fellowship in public health at the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (English: National Institute of Public Health) in Mexico. Dr. Cartujano uses principles of community-based participatory research to develop and implement culturally accommodating interventions for cancer prevention and control (e.g., tobacco control) among underserved and underrepresented minorities. In collaboration with community-based organizations serving people living with HIV, Dr. Cartujano is pilot testing a smoking cessation text messaging intervention for Latinos living with HIV (funding by the Prevent Cancer Foundation). He is also is pilot testing a mobile intervention that promotes both smoking cessation and physical activity among Latinos (funding by the American Association for Cancer Research). In addition, Dr. Cartujano is pilot testing a vaping cessation intervention among Latino young adults (ages 18-25; with funding from the American Lung Association). Last, he is pilot testing a mobile intervention to increase the uptake of lung cancer screening among Latinos (with funding from the Prevent Cancer Foundation).

Dr. Maira A. Castañeda-Avila

Maira A. Castañeda-Avila, Ph.D., M.S.

Dr. Maira A. Castañeda-Avila is an assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology within the Department of Population and Qualitative Health Research at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School (UMass Chan). Her research focuses on addressing disparities in aging, cancer, and multiple chronic conditions (MCC) among Hispanic older adults. She specializes in studying colorectal cancer (CRC), multiple myeloma, and HPV-related cancers, employing secondary data analysis, statistical methods, and qualitative research techniques. As a cancer epidemiologist, Dr. Castañeda-Avila has contributed to studies spanning the entire cancer control continuum, from investigating cancer etiology to end-of-life care. Despite scientific advancements, the challenge of translating research findings into equitable and effective health care delivery persists. Managing care becomes more complex for patients with MCC and those from marginalized communities. The limited research in this field has intensified Dr. Castañeda-Avila's commitment to cancer health equity, particularly among Hispanic populations. Dr. Castañeda-Avila earned her Bachelor of Science in cellular and molecular biology from Universidad Ana G Mendez and then completed a Master of Science in epidemiology at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Science Campus. Thereafter, she earned her Ph.D. in clinical and population health research from UMass Chan. Recently, Dr. Castañeda-Avila received a KL2 grant, which enables her to identify prevalent chronic conditions at CRC diagnosis, evaluate their impact on treatment outcomes, and assess health care experiences among older adults with CRC and MCC. Additionally, she employs causal inference methods to investigate the relationship between MCC, CRC treatment, treatment-related complications, and mortality outcomes.

Dr. Nyasha Chambwe

Nyasha Chambwe, Ph.D.

Dr. Nyasha Chambwe is an assistant professor in the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research of Northwell Health and an assistant member at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center. Dr. Chambwe’s research focuses on understanding the genetic and biological determinants of race- and ethnicity-based cancer health disparities experienced by understudied populations, particularly those of African descent. The long-term goals of this work are to better understand molecular factors driving population differences in cancer presentation, and to make more accurate, clinically relevant predictions that close the gap in differential outcomes by population of origin. Another research interest is developing approaches to dissect how genetic variation interacts with environmental factors to influence molecular phenotypes that lead to disease. Dr. Chambwe has interdisciplinary training in biology, computer science, and applied statistics. She graduated summa cum laude from Jackson State University (2008), majoring in biology, received her Ph.D. in computational biology and medicine from Weill Cornell Medicine (2014), and completed postdoctoral training at the Institute for Systems Biology (2019). Dr. Chambwe is involved in global capacity-building efforts to train the next generation of computational biologists, including encouraging black women to persist in the field and co-developing bioinformatics training modules for scientists in the Global South.

Dr. Roxana C. Chicas

Roxana C. Chicas, Ph.D., R.N.

Dr. Roxana C. Chicas is an assistant professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. Dr. Chicas graduated with an ASN in 2015 from Georgia Perimeter College and a BSN in 2016 from Emory University. She earned her Ph.D. in nursing from the Emory University James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies in 2020. Then, in 2021, she completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Emory University School of Medicine in the Division of Renal Medicine. Dr. Chicas’s research focus is occupational and environmental health disparities—investigating the physiological effects of chronic heat exposures among farmworkers through community-engaged research. In collaboration with the Farmworker Association of Florida, she has led two intervention studies using real-time biomonitoring equipment with farmworkers in the Southeastern United States. Dr. Chicas’s work is shaping the future of climate and occupational health science—two pressing fields of scientific inquiry today. Her methodologies are unique and effective due to direct partnership with farmworker communities, who are now bearing the brunt of life-threatening and dehumanizing extreme heat health effects, which many more communities will face as climate change worsens. Dr. Chicas’s research is creating solutions that are realistic, sustainable, and grounded in the realities of labor. Her intervention studies are providing relief to workers, collecting critical health data, and informing prevention/intervention practices in the U.S. and globally. As a bilingual, bicultural nurse scientist, she is committed to conducting research that informs policy to advance environmental justice.

Dr. Alexander Chiu

Alexander Chiu, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Alexander Chiu is an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Chiu focuses on health services research, with a particular emphasis on disparities in access to timely surgical care and how surgical patients interact with the health system. His prior work has examined how race impacts surgical decision making and the factors influencing patients’ choice of hospital for surgery. He has also tested interventions to reduce postoperative opioid prescribing. His current work considers how neighborhood resources impact access to surgical care and seeks to identify interventions to overcome these social barriers. Dr. Chiu graduated with a BA in political science from Yale University in 2007 and an M.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 2014. He was awarded an Applied Epidemiology Fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013 and earned an M.P.H. from Yale University School of Public Health in 2018. Dr. Chiu completed surgical residency at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2021 and a clinical fellowship in endocrine surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2022.

Dr. Elaine De Leon

Elaine De Leon, M.D., M.H.S.

Dr. Elaine De Leon is an assistant professor in the Departments of Medicine and Population Health at the New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine. She is a board-certified general internist who practices at the Park Ridge Family Health Center at NYU Langone in Brooklyn, NY. Her research focuses on the development and delivery of patient-centered and community-based behavioral interventions and care delivery models to reduce racial and ethnic disparities. She is co-investigator for an implementation trial that uses a team-based, technology-facilitated model to improve hypertension care and medication adherence at a large federally qualified health center (FQHC) in New York City. She is also developing a culturally tailored diabetes prevention program for older Hispanic adults to be delivered at the FQHC. As an educator, Dr. De Leon has been involved in the curricular design and evaluation of an anti-racism in medicine curriculum for primary care/internal medicine resident physicians at NYU. Previously, Dr. De Leon was a research program manager at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she led smoking cessation and international tobacco control policy projects that informed health behavior interventions and strengthened international advocacy efforts. She also led the qualitative arm of a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute pilot, implemented at the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. She received her BA in human biology from Stanford University, her Master of Health Science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and her M.D. from NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

Dr. Sarah E. Deemer

Sarah E. Deemer, Ph.D.

Dr. Sarah E. Deemer is an assistant professor at the University of North Texas (UNT). Dr. Deemer’s research interests are focused on the understanding of the role of exercise and/or nutrition on weight loss and weight loss maintenance and the reduction of metabolic disease risk. Mechanistically, Dr. Deemer aims to examine the role of white adipose tissue and adipose tissue remodeling and function as a mediating factor in the development of metabolic disease. It is her goal as an independent investigator to reduce the obesity and diabetic burden in women, especially in minority and aging populations, from both an applied and mechanistic standpoint. Recently, Dr. Deemer has been investigating the mechanisms regarding the control of inflammation resolution, specifically the expression of specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) and their role in diseases of chronic low-grade inflammation (such as obesity). Dr. Deemer graduated with a BS and M.S. in kinesiology from the University of Texas at El Paso and received her Ph.D. in kinesiology (exercise physiology) from Texas Woman’s University in 2017. Dr. Deemer completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Nutrition Obesity Research Center before starting her position at UNT in fall 2020.

Dr. Charlotte R. Gamble

Charlotte R. Gamble, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Charlotte R. Gamble is a gynecologic oncologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. She is a clinical instructor within the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Georgetown University Medical Center. Her research has focused on health services delivery, specifically on outcomes for patients who receive gynecologic cancer care at safety net hospitals. She is currently studying barriers to, and facilitators of, care for patients with uterine cancer who live in vulnerable neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. She is a board member of the Endometrial Cancer Action Network for African-Americans, a national support network for Black patients with endometrial cancer. She is an active member of the Society for Gynecologic Oncology, the National Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Gamble obtained her Bachelors of Science in brain behavior and cognitive sciences at the University of Michigan. She received her M.D. at the University of Michigan Medical School, and her Master of Science in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University and her fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Columbia and Weill Cornell Hospitals in New York City.

Dr. Rian M. Hasson

Rian M. Hasson, M.D., M.P.H., FACS

Dr. Rian M. Hasson is an assistant professor of surgery in the section of thoracic surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), Geisel School of Medicine, and The Dartmouth Institute (TDI) for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Her research interests include the surgical management of thoracic malignancies and lung cancer screening. Specifically, she aims to identify the provider and patient barriers that decrease participation in shared decision making, and the lung cancer screening process—especially in rural and underserved locations and populations. In addition, she aims to develop interventions to promote successful participation of high-risk populations in early detection programs and integrate mobile screening opportunities in rural and underserved locations across the United States. In line with her research interests, she serves as the director of the DHMC Lung Cancer Screening Program, and is the co-founder and co-director of the DHMC Lung Health and Pulmonary Nodule Clinic. Dr. Hasson graduated with a BA in psychology in 2001 from the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her M.D. from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in 2008 and subsequently completed her general surgery internship, residency, and chief residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2015. She completed a cardiothoracic fellowship in 2017 at The Ohio State University and a general thoracic fellowship in 2018 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Hasson obtained her M.P.H. in 2021 from TDI. She is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of Alpha Omega Alpha honor society.

Dr. Karen Hicklin

Karen Hicklin, Ph.D., M.S.

Dr. Karen Hicklin is an assistant professor in the Center for Biostatistics in the Department of Population Health Science and Policy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is an NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Scholar with affiliations within the Tisch Cancer Institute, the Blavatnik Family Women’s Health Research Institute, and Center for Scientific Diversity. Dr. Hicklin’s research interests include data-driven approaches to model decision making for health care quality improvement. She focuses on using optimization methods (e.g., decision trees, simulation, Markov decision processes, and Bayesian decision analysis) to provide solutions and policies for health care delivery. Specifically, Dr. Hicklin develops mathematical models to evaluate decision making and intervention implementation to improve health equity related to severe maternal morbidity and mortality, colorectal cancer screening, and breast cancer mortality. She received her Ph.D. in industrial engineering from North Carolina State University, her M.S. in mathematics and statistics from Georgetown University, and her BS from Spelman College, where she majored in mathematics. Dr. Hicklin completed postdoctoral training through the NCI-funded T32 Cancer Health Disparities Postdoctoral Training Program in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Ugonna Ihenacho

Ugonna Ihenacho, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Ugonna Ihenacho is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC). Her research interests include evaluating structural, environmental, and biologic factors in cancer risk, and applying multilevel approaches to assessments of cancer health disparities. She is especially interested in evaluating racial and socioeconomic disparities in breast and colorectal cancer research. Her current work focuses on the effects of endocrine disrupting chemical and air pollutant exposures on cardiovascular disease and cancer outcomes among multiethnic populations. Dr. Ihenacho graduated with a BS in chemical biology from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed her M.P.H. in biostatistics and epidemiology and Ph.D. in epidemiology at USC. She was awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program to conduct her doctoral dissertation research on the association between lifetime prenatal, secondhand, and active smoking exposures and breast cancer risk among non-Hispanic Black and White women under the age of 50 years. Dr. Ihenacho completed a T32 postdoctoral fellowship in ethnic diversity and cancer disparities at USC, where she continues her work as a National Cancer Institute Diversity Supplement recipient.

Dr. Jonathan Jay

Jonathan Jay, Dr.P.H., J.D.

Dr. Jonathan Jay is an assistant professor at the Boston University (BU) School of Public Health. His work focuses on community firearm violence, with a particular interest in community-level intervention strategies and structural determinants of racial/ethnic disparities, including residential racial segregation and built environment disinvestment. His work uses community-engaged approaches alongside computational methods, such as machine learning and agent-based modeling. Dr. Jay is the principal investigator of a career development award from NIMHD to study multilevel strategies for reducing racial disparities in youth firearm injuries. Dr. Jay is a junior faculty fellow of the BU Hariri Institute for Computing and was a KL2 early career scholar of the BU Clinical & Translational Sciences Initiative. He previously served as a research fellow for both the Firearm-Safety Among Children and Teens (FACTS) Consortium, led by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and the Computational Epidemiology Group at Boston Children's Hospital. Before receiving his doctorate in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Jay trained as a lawyer-ethicist and worked in global health policy. He received a BA with honors from Brown University, a J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and an M.A. in philosophy from Georgetown University.

Dr. Erica Jones

Erica Jones, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Erica Jones is an assistant professor of vascular neurology in the Department of Neurology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Jones’s research focuses on the health systems and community factors contributing to racial disparities in functional outcomes among stroke survivors. Additionally, she has interests in the impact of social determinants of health on cerebral small vessel disease progression and global access to acute stroke therapies. She is a partner of both the Bahir Dar Outreach for Neurology Education (BORNE) Initiative, working to expand stroke care in Ethiopia, and the Lone Star Stroke Research Consortium, working to improve the quality of stroke care across diverse communities in Texas. She is committed to educating trainees on topics in stroke disparities and mentoring student investigators from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine. She earned her BA in anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, her M.D. from Tulane University School of Medicine, and her M.P.H. in epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She completed neurology residency at Emory University and both clinical and research fellowships in vascular neurology at University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston.

Dr. Margaret N. Jones

Margaret N. Jones, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Margaret N. Jones is a primary care pediatrician and assistant professor in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. As a physician scientist, Dr. Jones’s career mission is to advance racial equity in child health through excellent clinical care, innovative research, and effective advocacy. Through her research, she aims to contribute to the mitigation of racism’s harmful effect on child health. Dr. Jones believes it is critical to understand not only how racism affects health across many levels, but also the most effective ways to eliminate racism and work towards racial equity. Specifically, Dr. Jones’s work focuses on understanding the patient family experience of racism in pediatric settings as well as developing and testing anti-racist interventions that promote trust and dignity in pediatric care. She graduated with a BA in music from Loyola University Chicago, before earning her M.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. Jones then completed her pediatrics residency, chief residency, and general pediatrics research fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She recently earned an M.S. in clinical and translational research and will soon earn a graduate certificate in community engaged research for health from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She has received several prestigious awards and honors, including Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society membership, the Gittelman Family Physician Advocacy Award, and a Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation Outstanding Abstract Award.

Dr. Jin Jun

Jin Jun, Ph.D., R.N.

Dr. Jin Jun is an assistant professor at the Ohio State University College of Nursing in the Center for Healthy Aging, Self-Management and Complex Care. The overarching goal of her research is to systematically examine the health and well-being of the health care workforce, who are key stakeholders in improving the quality and safety of health care delivery. Dr. Jun is particularly interested in exploring work as a social determinant of health among low-wage health care workers. Work is an important contributor to health and well-being yet is under-investigated as a social determinant of health. Dr. Jun uses quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine the mechanism and causal pathways in which work contributes and/or reduces health disparities. Her research also addresses occupational stress and clinicians’ well-being at the intersections of individual, community, and system levels. Dr. Jun currently teaches pathophysiology. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing at University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in nursing at New York University. Prior to assuming that faculty position, she was a National Clinician Scholar (formerly known as the Robert Wood Johnson Clinicians’ Program) and postdoctoral research fellow at University of Michigan School of Nursing and Institute for Health Policy and Innovation.

Dr. Michelle T. Kassel

Michelle T. Kassel, Ph.D.

Dr. Michelle T. Kassel is a postdoctoral fellow in neuropsychology/geropsychology in the Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Centers Advanced Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program at the San Francisco VA Health Care System and the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Kassel’s research uses neuropsychological, neuroimaging, and computational modeling techniques to examine the neurocognitive and sociocultural correlates of risk and resilience in mood disorders and aging among diverse cultural-linguistic groups. The goals of this work are to inform intervention targets that promote cognitive resilience, enhance clinical outcomes, and to advance personalized medicine among historically minoritized and underrepresented groups at increased risk of cognitive decline. Dr. Kassel earned her bachelor’s degree in brain, behavior, and cognitive sciences from the University of Michigan and received her M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, following completion of a clinical internship in neuropsychology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Kassel was the recipient of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship in 2019 and Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship in 2018.

Dr. Patrick Lao

Patrick Lao, Ph.D.

Dr. Patrick Lao (he/him) is an assistant professor of neurological sciences at the G.H. Sergeivsky Center and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain in the Department of Neurology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Lao graduated with a BS in physics and biology from Houston Baptist University and a Ph.D. in Medical Physics from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Dr. Lao leads the Alzheimer’s Disease And PeT (ADAPT) imaging lab where he uses PET and MRI-based biomarkers of amyloid, tau, vascular disease, inflammation, and neurodegeneration. His research interests include understanding Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis in underrepresented and underserved groups for which societally driven factors may influence biomarkers, cognition, and/or the link between the two. Dr. Lao works with adults with Down syndrome, who have a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease, yet are excluded from clinical trials for disease modifying drugs. Dr. Lao additionally works with community-dwelling adults in the Washington Heights Inwood Columbia Aging Project, the Offspring Study of Racial Disparities in Alzheimer’s Disease, and the Northern Manhattan Study of Metabolism and Mind. He has an Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Development Award to understand how loneliness may influence inflammation, which in turn may influence Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. Loneliness may be a particularly relevant disease-modifying pathway for sexual and gender minority adults (i.e., LGBT+ adults), which will be a focus of his future work. Dr. Lao is an affiliate member in the Center for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research.

Dr. Marquita W. Lewis-Thames

Marquita W. Lewis-Thames, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.S.

Dr. Marquita W. Lewis-Thames is an assistant professor in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Medical Social Sciences and the Center for Community Health, and a co-assistant director of community outreach and engagement at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is dedicated to engaging rural and racially and ethnically minoritized communities to learn about their respective barriers to care and identify community-based strategies to improve continuous cancer care coordination. Her research program primarily focuses on three key areas: 1) the examination of urban-rural differences in cancer and chronic disease risk, 2) community-level determinants associated with access to care for rural and other medically underserved populations, and 3) the identification of individual-level determinants that improve continuous care coordination. Notably, her ongoing NCI K01—the Superior Yield of the New strategy of Enoxaparin, Revascularization and GlYcoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors (SYNERGY) study—aims to use a mixed-methods approach to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of embedding community health workers in a clinical survivorship care team model to help improve follow-up care visit adherence of rural lung cancer survivors. In addition, she is the project lead for an internal award from the Northwestern’s NIA-funded Claude D. Pepper Older Americans’ Independence Center. The CONNECT study uses a user-centered design to develop and assess the usability of a telehealth navigation website designed for rural older cancer adults. These research projects—and the totality of her research program—are informed by health equity principles and aim to engage the voices of marginalized communities to collaboratively and reciprocally design, implement, and disseminate the research.

Dr. Anika Lucas

Anika Lucas, M.D., M.T.S.

Dr. Anika Lucas is a medical instructor in the Division of Nephrology at Duke University and a nephrologist at the Durham VA. As a clinician-investigator, her aim is to improve the quality of life and health outcomes of Black patients with kidney disease. Dr. Lucas’s early work focused on health disparities in birthing people, evaluating racial/ethnic disparities in adverse pregnancy outcomes among patients with lupus and lupus nephritis, gestational diabetes, and postpartum kidney outcomes among patients with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. She also completed work in geriatric nephrology, evaluating physical activity and function among older patients receiving hemodialysis. Utilizing a lifecourse approach to clinical research, Dr. Lucas aims to promote equity in kidney health through addressing psychosocial factors that Black patients with kidney disease encounter. She earned a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School, obtaining training in African and African American Religious Studies. Dr. Lucas graduated from The Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and completed residency in internal medicine at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Lucas also completed fellowships in nephrology and biomedical research at Duke University. She joined the faculty as a medical instructor at Duke University in 2022.

Dr. Adriana Maldonado

Adriana Maldonado, Ph.D., M.A.

Dr. Adriana Maldonado is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Health Promotion Sciences at the University of Arizona (UArizona) Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Dr. Maldonado is committed to research that identifies and addresses the root causes of health inequities faced by the U.S. Latino population. Her research is shaped by her multidisciplinary background, including masters-level training in experimental psychology at California State University San Marcos, doctoral training in community engaged research at the University of Iowa, and postdoctoral training in cancer prevention and control. Dr. Maldonado’s recent work is focused on understanding the influence of social, contextual, and environmental factors on chronic diseases in U.S. Latinos. During her doctoral training, she utilized a mixed-methods approach to understand how social and environmental determinants of cardiovascular health influence hypertension management in Latinos in established vs. new Latino destination states. In 2022, Dr. Maldonado joined “Nosotros Comprometidos a Su Salud—Committed to your Health,” a UArizona public health program that aims to reduce health disparities faced by the Latino community in the Southern Arizona region. As an investigator of Nosotros Comprometidos a Su Salud, Dr. Maldonado is leading a community-based participatory research project that aims to understand how the built and social context, as well as stress, impact migrant and seasonal farmworkers’ risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Her areas of focus include place-based health disparities, psychosocial determinants of health, stress, chronic diseases, and cancer control and prevention.

Dr. Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde

Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde, Ph.D., M.A.

Dr. Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde is an assistant professor of sociology at Utah State University. Dr. Marquez-Velarde’s main research interests are intersectionality and population health, or how the lived experience of belonging to more than one socially disadvantaged or marginalized population is associated with adverse physical and mental health outcomes. Using a critical perspective, her research stems from the notion that interlocking systems of inequality work in tandem to produce negative health outcomes through multiple biopsychosocial mechanisms. Her expertise includes immigrant, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ health, as well as demography. Dr. Marquez-Velarde was awarded a Career Enhancement Fellowship by the Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation) in 2021. She currently has research support from the Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE), under an NIH/NHLBI R25 award, to evaluate the association of discrimination experiences and sleep, cardiovascular, and respiratory health outcomes among sexual and gender minorities of color. Her research has been published in JAMA Network Open, Social Science & Medicine, the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, and the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Dr. Marquez-Velarde attended El Paso Community College, where she learned English as a Second Language and began her undergraduate studies. She then transferred to the University of Texas at El Paso, where she earned a BA in sociology in 2010 and an M.A. in Sociology in 2013. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology, with specialization in demography and population health, from Texas A&M University in 2018.

Dr. Lakeya S. McGill

Lakeya S. McGill, Ph.D.

Dr. Lakeya S. McGill is a licensed psychologist and T32 postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Before her current position, she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rhodes College and a doctorate in clinical and community psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She also completed a predoctoral internship/residency at the University of Washington and a clinical fellowship in rehabilitation psychology at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. McGill’s current research focuses on discovering knowledge that promotes equitable pain care for all patients, including adults with sickle cell disease (SCD). Her long-term goal is to become an international leader in clinical pain research and advance a research program that 1) examines the impact of sociocultural, environmental, and psychological factors on chronic pain-related outcomes and disparities, 2) identifies individuals and groups at the greatest risk of poor chronic pain-related outcomes, and 3) develops and implements personalized, culturally adapted psychosocial and multi-level chronic pain interventions. Dr. McGill is an awardee of the Helping End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative National K12 Clinical Pain Career Development Program through the University of Michigan. Her K12 project aims to elucidate the impact of intersecting experiences of discrimination on psychosocial, pain, and treatment outcomes in adults with SCD. Her research will advance the field by identifying multi-level risk factors and treatment targets, an initial step towards advancing equitable pain care for individuals with SCD.

Dr. Dinushika Mohottige

Dinushika Mohottige, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Dinushika Mohottige is a general nephrologist and an assistant professor in the Institute of Health Equity Research and the Barbara T. Murphy Division of Nephrology, both at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She engages in patient- and community-centered, inequity-focused research around the impact of socio-structural factors and racialized medicine on kidney health and kidney transplantation. As part of this work, she has examined the role of racism and related socio-structural factors on kidney disease. She has also contributed to multiple perspective pieces regarding considerations for gender affirming kidney care, inclusive care practices for the LGBTQ+ community. Dr. Mohottige received a BA in public policy and a Health Policy Certificate from Duke University in 2006, where she was a Robertson Scholar. She then earned an M.P.H. in health behavior and health education from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, and a medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, followed by internal medicine/chief residency and nephrology training at Duke University. Dr. Mohottige is a member of the National Kidney Foundation Health Equity Taskforce, the National Kidney Foundation Transplant Advisory Committee, the End Stage Renal Disease National Coordinating Center Health Equity Committee, and the 2022 NIH PhenX Social Determinants of Health Committee.

Dr. Carlie Myers

Carlie Myers, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Carlie Myers is a clinical instructor in the Division of Critical Care Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). She currently serves as the director of equity in clinical outcomes of the CCHMC Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Dr. Myers graduated with a BA in international studies and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2008). She earned her M.S. in biology from Mississippi College (2011), before receiving her M.D. from Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine (2016). Dr. Myers pursued her pediatric residency training at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. (2016) and completed her pediatric critical care training at John’s Hopkins University School of Medicine (2022). Dr. Myers’s success at the bedside is fueled by her connection with, and dedication to, serving her surrounding community—particularly those pediatric patients who are underserved or face inequity in accessing critical medical care. Her scholarly work is grounded in commitment to equity in health care delivery, including quality, safety, and community health. Focusing on place-based determinants of health in the pediatric critically ill population, Dr. Myers’s primary research forces the examination of how neighborhood context plays an instrumental role in pediatric health. This funded project describes inequities in PICU utilization based on neighborhood-level factors, which will inform future studies exploring unmet critical socio-medical needs at the neighborhood-level, with a goal of improving pediatric health and health care value.

Dr. Melanie Nadeau

Melanie Nadeau, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Melanie “Dr. Mel” Nadeau serves as interim Chair, graduate program director, and assistant professor for the Indigenous Health Ph.D. Program at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Dr. Mel is an enrolled citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in Belcourt, North Dakota. She completed both her master’s degree in public health—in community health education, with a concentration in health disparities—and her Ph.D. in social/behavioral epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Mel is a community-engaged scholar and has worked more than 19 years on various research and evaluation projects within the American Indian community. She has successfully engaged a multitude of tribal health stakeholders from across the nation and is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Native communities. Dr. Mel currently serves on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Research Review Board, is the program co-chair for the American Evaluation Association Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation Topical Interest Group, and co-chairs the Tribal Health Data Workgroup for the North Dakota Department of Health. She is also a member of American Public Health Association American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Caucus.

Dr. Carol Y. Ochoa-Dominguez

Carol Y. Ochoa-Dominguez, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Carol Y. Ochoa-Dominguez is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego in the Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences, and a member in training of the Cancer Control Program at Moores Cancer Center. She is a cancer health disparities researcher trained in behavioral science within public health. Her research experience has centered on three areas of focus: 1) cancer survivors, 2) informal caregivers, and 3) cancer screening. Within these areas, she uses a mixed-methods approach to explore racial and ethnic differences, the role of social determinants, and specific cultural factors that may be related to these outcomes. Her postdoctoral training builds upon her prior research to examine system-level factors contributing to cancer health disparities among adolescent and young adult cancer survivors and caregivers. Dr. Ochoa-Dominguez completed her doctoral degree in 2022 from the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences (previously known as the Department of Preventive Medicine) at the University of Southern California, where she was funded by the National Cancer Institute’s T32 and F99/K00 awards. Before starting her doctorate training, she served as the Cancer Survivorship Workgroup Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow from 2016-2017, in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She received her M.P.H. in behavioral science and health education from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in 2016 and her BA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2013.

Dr. Serwaa S. Omowale

Serwaa S. Omowale, Ph.D., LMSW, M.P.H.

Dr. Serwaa S. Omowale is an assistant professor in the Department of Management, Policy, and Community Health, and core faculty in the Center for Pediatric Population Health, in the School of Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She recently completed her T32-funded postdoctoral fellowship with the California Preterm Birth Initiative at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Omowale earned her Ph.D. in social work and her master’s degrees in social work and public health from the University of Pittsburgh. During her doctoral and public health training, she was awarded an NHLBI diversity supplement. She is also a graduate of Georgia State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies. She has thirteen years of experience as a social work professional, with clinical social work expertise in maternal and child health, mental health, and substance use. Her current research focuses on work as a social determinant of health and its impact on racial disparities in maternal health and birth outcomes, and on developing culturally responsive interventions to reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes among Black women. Dr. Omowale’s career goal is to use various research methodologies to develop population-specific and culturally appropriate interventions that focus on eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity in maternal mortality and morbidity, infant mortality, and preterm birth outcomes.

Dr. Onome Henry Osokpo

Onome Henry Osokpo, Ph.D., M.Sc., M.S.N., R.N.

Dr. Onome Henry Osokpo is a provost postdoctoral fellow and a T32 postdoctoral research fellow at the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Dr. Osokpo is committed to fostering positive changes in a) the care and outcomes of marginalized individuals, especially those in Black communities, and b) the policies essential to implement, scale, and sustain effective solutions. Dr. Osokpo’s research focuses on understanding the multilevel influences on health care—including individual, community, and societal influences—that impact the health and health outcomes of minority adults living with chronic illnesses. His research interests are grounded in his life experiences as a Black immigrant in the U.S., his academic and clinical training, and his work in vulnerable communities. Dr. Osokpo seeks to conduct rigorous studies of tailored interventions designed to address the health needs of structurally vulnerable populations and to mitigate the impact of adverse social determinants of health. Dr. Osokpo holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Kass Scholar at the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health, a Jonas Nursing Scholar, and a Fontaine Society Fellow. His dissertation explored sociocultural factors influencing self-care among African immigrants living with chronic illness in the United States. Dr. Osokpo earned a BSN at Stony Brook University and an M.S.N. in the Adult and Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to studying nursing he earned a BSc (Ed) in chemistry education and an M.Sc. in analytical chemistry.

Dr. Alayna L. Park

Alayna L. Park, Ph.D.

Dr. Alayna L. Park is a licensed clinical psychologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon. She is affiliated with the clinical psychology area and the diversity science area of emphasis, as well as the Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health. Dr. Park completed her BA in psychology, her M.A. in psychology, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She completed her predoctoral internship at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System. Her research is driven by the goals of improving the quality and effectiveness of mental health services and mitigating ethnic-racial mental health disparities. She is particularly interested in re-designing mental health programs and developing decision support tools to enhance the cultural compatibility of evidence-based interventions for youth of color. Dr. Park has published more than 30 scientific papers on the topics of mental health intervention design, clinical decision making, and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions in public sector settings. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Spotlight on a Mentor Award from the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, the Diversity Paper Award from the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy, and the Charles E. and Sue K. Young Graduate Student Award from UCLA.

Dr. Cinthya A. Pena Orbea

Cinthya A. Pena Orbea, M.D.

Dr. Cinthya A. Pena Orbea is an assistant professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and faculty of the Sleep Disorders Center in the Neurologic Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Pena Orbea is a clinical scientist interested in addressing sleep health disparities among individuals living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Her current research involves leveraging large data sets to understand the association of area deprivation index and sleep apnea as it related to major cardiovascular events and mortality. As an extension of her current research work, Dr. Pena Orbea is interested in investigating individual and community social determinants of health among patients from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities with OSA with the objective of developing culturally tailored, evidence-based interventions to decreasing inequities in OSA and improve health outcomes. She was given the 2020 American Board of Sleep Medicine Junior Faculty Award from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation for her project titled Effect of Post-Discharge Telemedicine Motivational Enhancement Intervention in Heart Failure and Obstructive Sleep Apnea on Adherence and Health Outcomes. Dr. Pena Orbea completed her medical degree in Guayaquil, Ecuador, followed by her internal medicine residency at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago. She completed her Sleep Medicine and Hospital Internal Medicine fellowships at Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN. Dr. Pena Orbea also received the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County Humanitarian Award for her exceptional compassion and dedicated service to patients and peers, and also earned the Mayo Clinic International Health Program Scholarship. She joined the Cleveland Clinic in 2019.

Dr. Karen Pineda Solis

Karen Pineda Solis, M.D.

Dr. Karen Pineda Solis is an assistant professor at the University of Rochester. Dr Pineda was born and raised in Mexico City, she earned her M.D. with honors at the National University of Mexico, then trained abroad in Mexico, Canada, and United States. She is a board-certified Hepato-Biliary and transplant surgeon whose training in different countries has provided her with a unique perspective of the health care systems. Dr. Pineda Solis is an eager researcher in areas of cancer, surgical innovation and health disparities. She is the author of several papers and book chapters, including those about fast tracks for recovery after liver and pancreas surgery and innovative surgical techniques—including Robotic Surgery. Dr. Pineda Solis was part of the pioneering North American team behind Associating Liver Partition and Portal vein Ligation for Staged hepatectomy (ALPPS), a new surgery for otherwise inoperable liver tumors. She has particular interest in the management of colorectal liver metastasis and embraces bigger challenges, such as pushing beyond boundaries to resect inoperable tumors under classic surgical techniques, using innovative surgical approaches such as ALPPS and even liver transplantation. Dr. Pineda Solis has also been studying the effects of social disparities among patients with liver cancer and transplant populations, with the aim to raise the awareness of racial/ethic health disparities and find a way to solve them.

Dr. Kathy Prue-Owens

Kathy Prue-Owens, Ph.D., R.N.

Dr. Kathy Prue-Owens is an assistant professor at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). Dr. Prue-Owens’s research interests include cardiovascular health, women Veterans’ mental health/well-being, and Native American women’s well-being and resiliency. Within this field, she examines the cardiovascular and mental health and well-being to improve equity in women’s health, with particular emphasis on Native American and Veteran women. Dr. Prue-Owens’s investigated cardiac risk perception, lived experiences of nurses, and stereotype threat among women Veterans. Her research background includes both quantitative and qualitative studies. She is presently collaborating with a federally recognized Tribe to investigate resiliency among Native American women to culturally adapt the “Greater Resilience Information Toolkit.” Dr. Prue-Owens earned a BS in nursing at University of Nebraska-Kearney and a Master of Nursing at the University of Washington-Seattle. During a 30-year career in the military as an Army Nurse Corps Officer, she earned her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona. Dr. Prue-Owens practiced extensively in the clinical setting and served as the Medical-Surgical Nursing Consultant to the Army Surgeon General. In 2016, she joined the faculty at UCCS. She has provided clinical, educational, research, and cultural expertise for the university, community, and national organizations. She is currently active in professional nursing organizations, with an appointment to the Board of Directors for the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence and the Board of Directors for the Colorado Healthcare Ethics Forum. Recently, she became the President-elect for the Colorado Healthcare Ethics Forum.

Dr. Rebecca L. Rivera

Rebecca L. Rivera, Ph.D., M.P.H., CPH

Dr. Rebecca L. Rivera is an assistant research professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. She is also a research scientist in the Clem McDonald Center for Biomedical Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute. Her research focuses on improving food and nutrition security, dietary behaviors, and health outcomes among populations experiencing or at risk of health inequities and disparities. Dr. Rivera applies interdisciplinary, mixed-methods research from nutrition science, public health, and biomedical informatics across clinical and community populations. Dr. Rivera received an AB in Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition with a concentration in health policy from the University of Minnesota. She graduated with a Ph.D. in nutrition science with an emphasis in public health and education from Purdue University in 2018. During doctoral training, she completed the Ingestive Behavior Research Center Graduate Training Program. Dr. Rivera trained as a postdoctoral research fellow from 2018-2021 in the NLM-funded T15 Indiana Training Program in Public and Population Health Informatics, where she is currently a faculty mentor for pre and postdoctoral trainees and for the Indiana Learning Health Systems Initiative Program. In addition to research, Dr. Rivera enjoys mentoring students and trainees in research. She serves as a preceptor for public health program internships and maintains a certification in public health.

Dr. Katherine “Katie” Rizzolo

Katherine Rizzolo, M.D.

Dr. Katherine “Katie” Rizzolo is a clinician-investigator and instructor in the Department of Nephrology at Boston Medical Center. Her research interests center on advocacy for underserved communities disproportionately by kidney disease, especially Latinx and immigrant populations. She received her M.D. from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and her residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. She completed a clinical and research fellowship in nephrology at the University of Colorado in 2023, where her work was supported by their T32 postdoctoral fellowship. While in fellowship, her research aimed to establish the barriers and facilitators to home dialysis for Latinx populations with kidney failure. She is a research fellow in Boston University’s Evans Center for Implementation and Improvement Sciences from 2023-2025, which will support her current research aiming to utilize implementation strategies to improves access to, and uptake in, home dialysis for Latinx populations with kidney failure. She publishes and presents nationally regarding improving access to kidney replacement therapies for Latinx and undocumented individuals with kidney failure. In 2022, she successfully advocated for a Medicaid policy change in Colorado allowing undocumented immigrants to receive home dialysis therapy. Her long term goal is to become an independent physician investigator utilizing implementation strategies aimed at reducing kidney health disparities for vulnerable populations with kidney disease.

Dr. Cristina Almeida Flores Román

Cristina Almeida Flores Román, Ph.D.

Dr. Cristina Almeida Flores Román is a National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) Research Fellow at the Kessler Foundation, and an assistant research professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Her research focuses on the impact of systemic and psychosocial influences, namely health care-related social determinants of health (e.g., barriers to health, quality of health care), on cognition, everyday functioning, and accelerated brain aging in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). She is dedicated to increasing the inclusion of historically underrepresented groups in training and research to improve generalizability of research results and increase access to empirically driven, culturally informed care. Dr. Román’s dedication to social justice and advocacy guides all aspects of her clinical, research, mentoring, and community service endeavors. She is an active member of the Hispanic Neuropsychological Society, Accelerated Cure Project for MS Minority Research Engagement Partnership Network, the NMSS Hispanic/Latinx Collaborative, the International Neuropsychological Society Cultural Scientific Interest Group, the National Academy of Neuropsychology, and the Organization for Human Brain Mapping. Dr. Román is the recipient of the NIH Outstanding Scholars in Neuroscience Program Award, and she is currently conducting two funded studies investigating a) the relationship between cardiovascular risk factors and accelerated brain aging in MS, and b) the impact of barriers to health on MS outcomes. Dr. Román earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. She then earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology (with a focus on neuropsychology) from Pennsylvania State University in 2019, after completing a predoctoral internship at the Charleston Consortium. Prior to her current positions at Kessler Foundation and Rutgers, she completed a two-year clinical fellowship in neuropsychology at Brown University Medical School.

Dr. Helen Russette

Helen Russette, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Helen Russette is an assistant scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Indigenous Health, where she joined as a postdoctoral fellow in 2021, before assuming her current position in 2023. Born and raised on Rocky Boy’s reservation in Montana, she is a citizen of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe. Her research centers on applying the traditional ecological knowledge theoretical framework to understand and measure nature-based traditional and spiritual practices that are linked to Indigenous health and wellbeing. Prior to joining the Center for Indigenous Health, Dr. Russette worked on her dissertation research. She applied community-based participatory research methods to collaborate with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to co-identify barriers and facilitators to cultural, community, outdoor and home-based protective activities among families to children with and without prenatal drug exposure. Her final dissertation study measured the exposure to the natural environment and risk of COVID-19 mortality across the conterminous United States. Dr. Russette is grateful to be able to continue serving tribal communities in a research capacity. She obtained her Ph.D. in public health in the School of Public and Community Health Sciences at the University of Montana in 2021. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, listening to a good podcast, traveling, reading, and being outdoors. Dr. Russette is based in Missoula, MT.

Dr. Jeremy Schraw

Jeremy Schraw, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeremy Schraw is an assistant professor in the Center for Epidemiology and Population Health at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). Prior to joining BCM as a postdoctoral fellow in January 2017, he earned his Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a molecular epidemiologist, whose research leverages high-dimensional data from large, population-based studies to a) identify factors associated with structural birth defects and childhood cancer and b) understand racial and ethnic disparities in their incidence and outcomes. Through analyses of data from population-based registries and whole-genome sequencing or genotyping experiments, he has identified novel birth defect-childhood cancer associations, contributed to the discovery of a putative acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) predisposition gene, and characterized the associations between neighborhood sociodemographic characteristics and survival among children with ALL. He is the principal investigator of a High-Impact/High-Reward grant, funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, focused on characterizing the mechanisms underlying the association of socioeconomic deprivation and adverse outcomes in Hispanic/Latinx children with ALL. Dr. Schraw recently received a career development award from the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, through which he aims to identify genes and syndromes that predispose to rare childhood tumors. He has been recognized for his work by the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, International Society of Paediatric Oncology, and the Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium.

Dr. Ankur Srivastava

Ankur Srivastava, Ph.D.

Dr. Ankur Srivastava is an assistant professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work, and a core faculty with the Global Social Development Innovations Center. Dr. Srivastava earned both his master’s degree in social work and his MPhil in social sciences from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, before earning his Ph.D. in social work from University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Dr. Srivastava has an active domestic and international research agenda, focused on reducing behavioral health disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons. His research is informed by nearly a decade of community-based work with nonprofits in India and the United States. Dr. Srivastava’s research is invested in examining multiple minority identities, issues of identity management and their associated experiences of stress from a developmental framework. In his work, Dr. Srivastava has used both qualitative and quantitative methods relevant to behavioral studies. In his qualitative work, he has used grounded theory, case studies, and life history calendar approaches to examine issues of identity development, minority stress and psychosocial adjustments among LGBTQ populations. Dr. Srivastava has also authored multiple papers using advanced statistical analytic strategies (e.g., longitudinal structural equation modeling, mixture modeling, latent growth curve modeling) to examine complex and co-occurring behavioral health mechanisms among LGBTQ adolescents. His scholarship is heavily influenced by intersectionality, critical race, and minority stress theories, underscoring the nuances and diversity of experiences among LGBTQ persons negotiating multiple minority identities and experiences.

Dr. Juliana M. Teruel Biagi Camargo

Juliana M. Teruel Biagi Camargo, Ph.D. M.P.H.

Dr. Juliana M. Teruel Camargo is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Teruel Camargo’s research interests include linking social determinants of health, social risks, and food environment with lifestyle behaviors and chronic diseases in underserved populations. Examples include education level, acculturation, food insecurity, and neighborhood ethnic composition impact on food consumption and cardiometabolic diseases. Another interest is to develop research with food as medicine and technology approaches to overcome nutrition-related health disparities. Dr. Teruel Camargo’s background spans medical nutrition research, translational research, epidemiology, women’s health, health care, cultural and linguistic tailoring of lifestyle interventions. She also focuses on understanding the impact of social determinants of health and nutritional risk on chronic disease development internationally, with projects conducted in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Most recently, Dr. Teruel Camargo received an award from the NIH Office of Nutrition Research for her research on the intersection of food security, diet, and gestational diabetes among Latina population (2021). During her doctoral studies, she was awarded a community leadership award from the University of Kansas Medical Center for her exceptional community advocacy working with the Latino population in the Kansas City metropolitan area. She earned her doctorate in medical nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center (2019), her Master of Public Health with an emphasis in epidemiology at the State University of Campinas Brazil (2015), and her Bachelor of Science in dietetics and nutrition (2009) from the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas Brazil.

Dr. Roy A. Thompson

Roy A. Thompson, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N.

Dr. Roy Anthony Thompson is a postdoctoral fellow in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri—a position he has held since 2022. His research program focuses on improving nursing models of care and delivery as a mechanism to address nursing staff shortages and health disparities among nursing home residents. Dr. Thompson was born and raised in Jamaica, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with first class honors (i.e., summa cum laude) in 2009 and a Master of Science in advance nursing education in 2013—both from the University of the West Indies School of Nursing. Prior to graduate school, he worked as a registered nurse in the post-anesthetic care unit and in the intensive care units from 2008-2013. Thereafter, Dr. Thompson lectured at the University of the West Indies from 2013-2016. He earned his Ph.D. at the Duke University School of Nursing and the Global Health Doctoral Certificate from the Duke Global Health Institute. He also received a Teaching for Equity Fellowship from the Duke University School of Nursing. Dr. Thompson’s doctoral dissertation employed quantitative and qualitative methods to examine employment-related outcomes between foreign educated nurses (FENs) and U.S. educated nurses, including exploring barriers and facilitators to FENs providing quality care in long-term care facility settings. He is a subject matter expert on the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing and an Emerging Diversity Leader for AcademyHealth’s Interdisciplinary Research Group on Nursing Issues.

Dr. Christine Toledo

Christine Toledo, Ph.D., M.S.N., FNP-C

Dr. Christine Toledo is an assistant professor at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing (CELCON) at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Toledo’s research interests include various health disparities among minority women including maternal mental health, maternal morbidity, breastfeeding practices, and HIV. Dr. Toledo currently has two internally funded grants at CELCON. The first is a mixed methods study examining the impact of COVID-19 on maternal mental health and breastfeeding practices among women who gave birth in South Florida during the pandemic. The second is the Future of Nursing Research Scholar Grant, which aims to develop a culturally tailored and innovative telenovela (soap opera) intervention to explore and reduce cultural barriers for breastfeeding exclusivity among Hispanic women. Dr. Toledo graduated with a B.S. in biological sciences (2010) from Florida International University. She earned an M.S. in nursing with a clinical concentration in the Family Nurse Practitioner track (2016) and a Ph.D. in nursing (2019) at the University of Miami. Dr. Toledo is co-director of the Health Equity Nursing Scholars Program, funded by Florida Blue and DeLuca Health Foundations, which supports nursing students in the mission of advancing health equity through education, research, and mentorship.

Dr. Destiny G. Tolliver

Destiny G. Tolliver, M.D., M.H.S.

Dr. Destiny G. Tolliver is a pediatrician and health services researcher at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center. She attended Yale University as an undergraduate, where she majored in linguistics. She then earned an M.D. from the Morehouse School of Medicine, followed by residency and chief residency in the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics at the Boston Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital. Throughout residency, she partnered with other trainees and faculty to develop and implement Health Equity Rounds, a longitudinal case-based conference that discusses how bias and racism impact patient care. After chief residency, she completed a health services research fellowship at the National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale School of Medicine, where she obtained her Master of Health Science. Dr. Tolliver then returned to Boston as an assistant professor of pediatrics, and serves as a primary care pediatrician in the Pediatric Primary Care Clinic, in addition to her work as a researcher. Her research examines how criminal legal system involvement impacts children and families and aims to identify policies and practices that work to improve health outcomes for these children.

Dr. Ha Ngan (Milkie) Vu

Ha Ngan (Milkie) Vu, Ph.D., M.A.

Dr. Ha Ngan (Milkie) Vu is an assistant professor in the Division of Behavioral Medicine, in the Northwestern University Department of Preventive Medicine. Dr. Vu is a mixed-methods researcher with over a decade of experience conducting community-engaged research to promote health equity. She is interested in leveraging implementation science and community engagement to implement evidence-based programs, particularly in underserved communities or low-resource settings. Currently, she is leading the development of culturally relevant interventions to increase HPV vaccine confidence and uptake among Asian Americans and immigrant populations. Additionally, her research aims to understand and address food insecurity and other health-related socioeconomic risks experienced by diverse populations. Dr. Vu’s research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the American Psychological Foundation, the American Association for Cancer Education, the Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance, and more. She is currently a recipient of the KL2 fellowship from the Northwestern University Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute. Dr. Vu has also been selected for several prestigious national fellowships, including the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable Emerging Leaders Program and the Health Equity Fellowship for Trainees (Health Affairs). She received her undergraduate degree in history and cultural anthropology from Duke University, her master’s degree in social sciences from the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. in behavioral, social, and health education sciences from Emory University. She completed her postdoctoral training through the NCI-funded T32 fellowship in cancer prevention and control at Northwestern University.

Dr. Deana Williams

Deana Williams, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Deana Williams is a qualitative research investigator at the MultiCare Institute for Research and Innovation (MIRI) in Tacoma, Washington. Dr. Williams uses intersectionality as a core framework to advance health equity for LGBTQ+ populations, with an emphasis on diverse bisexual groups and queer and transgender people of color. Her current research focuses on maternal and reproductive health, reproductive justice, anti-racism in medicine, and improving access to and the delivery of gender-affirming health care. Recently, she was awarded a two-year NIH Diversity Supplement by NCATS to investigate bi sexual women of color’s perinatal health care experiences. Further, she is the principal investigator of a study funded by Washington’s Cancer Research Endowment, where she aims to design and pilot a culturally conscious intervention to increase cervical cancer screenings among racially and ethnically diverse sexual minority women. Dr. Williams is also the qualitative lead on a mixed-methods study, funded by PCORI and the Marco J. Heidner Charitable Trust, that will generate gender health research directives informed by trans and non-binary youth, parents of trans and non-binary youth, and gender-affirming health care professionals. Outside of her work with MIRI, Dr. Williams is an advisory board member for the HIV League—an organization dedicated to providing academic scholarships to students living with HIV. She holds a Master of Public Health and a doctorate in health behavior from Indiana University. Dr. Williams is committed to using her research to drive transformational change and promote health justice within the public health and medical field.

Page updated July 28, 2023