UCSF welcomes Cohort 11 RISE fellows for Summer Institute

Tiwaloluwa AjibewaTiwaloluwa Ajibewa, PhD, MS, is an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He received his PhD in Kinesiology at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology. He completed a T32 postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. His current research focuses on understanding the cardiovascular and metabolic consequences of increased psychosocial stress and inactivity across the life course to develop equitable multi-level interventions that promote resilience and ultimately improve health outcomes.

Darius B. DawsonDarius B. Dawson, PhD, MA, is an investigator with the South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) and the Houston Center of Innovation for Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC) and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Dawson received his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and completed a pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship at Baylor College of Medicine. He completed advanced postdoctoral training in health services research with the South Central MIRECC at the MEDVAMC. His overarching career goal is to promote health equity in behavioral medicine treatment among underserved populations. His research and clinical expertise are in developing, adapting, and implementing culturally informed, evidence-based treatments in primary care settings. He was awarded an inaugural VA Office of Research and Development Supplement to Promote Diversity, which examined cultural factors associated with mental health treatment and research participation for African American and Hispanic Veterans. He recently received a Health Services Research and Development Career Development Award to develop and test a health communication intervention to increase initiation of tobacco cessation services and to complete an evaluation of tobacco cessation treatment delivery for African American and Hispanic veterans.

Debra DixonDebra Dixon, MD, MS, is an instructor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. She is a Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University graduate, where she earned both her medical doctorate and Master of Science in Clinical Research. She completed a Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Fellowship during her undergraduate medical training. She completed an internal medicine residency and a cardiovascular medicine fellowship at Vanderbilt as part of the Harrison Society ABIM Research Pathway. Dixon’s research focuses on identifying drivers of disparities and inequities in heart failure incidence, care and outcomes in historically marginalized populations. Her work aims to mitigate disparities in heart failure by designing and implementing interventions that address socioeconomic and psychosocial barriers to equitable care. She is supported by the Realizing Accelerated Progress, Investigation, Implementation, and Dissemination in Learning Health Systems (RAPID-LHS) program funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Gmerice HammondGmerice Hammond, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine Division of Cardiology. She completed her MD at the University of Chicago, her internal medicine residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University, and her MPH in Epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and her cardiology and health policy research fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a health services researcher passionate about eradicating health inequities. She is a scholar in the prestigious Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, where she will continue to study the role of health care policy on race and socioeconomic inequities in health. She is investigating the impact of value-based payment models and Accountable Care Organizations on health care systems and whether they drive systems towards improvements in equity among populations made vulnerable to social risk due to socially derived identities such as race and socioeconomic position.

Shakia T. HardyShakia T. Hardy, PhD, MPH, is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Hardy earned a doctorate in epidemiology from UNC and expanded her epidemiologic methods and substantive training as a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University. Before joining the faculty at UNC, she was an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for four years. Hardy's research takes a multi-disciplinary, life course approach to understanding health disparities in cardiovascular disease by examining the impact of lifestyle factors and social environments on cardiovascular health from childhood to later life. Her research interests also include developing interventions to address behavioral and social risk factors for hypertension, and she is passionate about implementing lifestyle interventions to increase equity in cardiovascular health for Black Americans. She was awarded a career development award from the NHLBI to develop and evaluate an intervention to lower blood pressure among rural, Black adolescents and is a co-principal investigator on the Equity in Prevention and Progression of Hypertension by Addressing Barriers to Nutrition and Physical Activity (EPIPHANY; PI Andrea Cherrington) study, a church-based cluster-randomized survey that tests a peer-led intervention to prevent hypertension in Black communities in southern Alabama.

Nhung NguyenNhung Nguyen, PhD, is an assistant professor of medicine at the Division of General Internal Medicine at UC San Francisco. She is a behavioral scientist dedicated to tackling tobacco and cannabis use and the associated health disparities among diverse populations. With funding from the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) and the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nguyen employs innovative approaches to diminish substance use, enhance public well-being, and promote health equity. She founded and leads the HEARTY Lab's smartphone-based tobacco and substance use research for health equity (heartylab.ucsf.edu). Her ongoing projects leverage mobile health technology, machine learning, and implementation science to address the co-use of tobacco and cannabis. She is particularly interested in developing smartphone-based interventions to provide individualized support for vaping cessation in young adults.

Eduardo R. NúñezEduardo R. Núñez, MD, MS, is a pulmonary and critical care physician at Baystate Health and assistant professor of medicine, healthcare delivery, and population sciences at UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate Health. After attending medical school at the University of Pittsburgh, he completed an internal medicine residency at Brown University and a pulmonary and critical care fellowship at Boston Medical Center. Additionally, during a fellowship, Núñez completed an MS in Population Health Research at the Boston University School of Public Health. His research interests include addressing disparities in lung cancer screening and tobacco cessation through mixed methods identification of barriers to screening, tobacco counseling among historically marginalized populations, and developing strategies to overcome these barriers with community partners. Additionally, Núñez seeks to understand and address barriers to accessing preventive services and cancer screenings among individuals with limited English proficiency. He has received funding from the National Cancer Institute and the LUNGevity Foundation.

Luis A. RodriguezLuis A. Rodriguez, PhD, MPH, RD, is a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, assistant professor in the Department of Health System Sciences at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, and assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. Rodriguez completed his undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences and a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate in Epidemiology and Translational Science from the University of California, San Francisco. He then completed the T32 Diabetes Translational Research and Delivery Science Postdoctoral Fellowship program at the Division of Research. In parallel with his research training, he also completed a clinical internship in nutrition and practiced as a pediatric clinical dietitian at UCSF from 2008 to 2021. His research focuses on type 2 diabetes prevention and management across the life course. It aims to identify the causes contributing to diabetes-related health disparities and inform interventions focusing on the intersection of social determinants of health and biologic risk factors, health equity, and health services research. Dr. Rodriguez recently received a K01 career development award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to improve diabetes prevention in Latino populations.

Fatima WilderFatima Wilder, MD, MPH, graduated with a BA in International Studies from Emory University and an MS in Teaching from Pace University. She completed the Medicine Medical Careers Pathway Post Baccalaureate Program (MEDPATH) and her medical school training at Ohio State University. She began her general surgery residency at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and completed it at UCSF Fresno. She was a surgical oncology research fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and completed a cardiothoracic surgery clinical fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Wilder is certified by the American Board of Surgery. She is getting her MPH at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is a member of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the Association of Black Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons, and Women in Thoracic Surgery, among others. Her research interests include health care disparities, investigating barriers to access to care, and optimizing the use of lung cancer screening. She is additionally interested in better understanding the pathophysiology of lung cancer in younger patients, as well as early markers of metastatic lung cancer. She looks forward to working collaboratively to meet our patient's needs while advancing the field of thoracic surgery.