UCSF welcomes Cohort 8 RISE fellows for Summer Institute

The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, in partnership with the Center for Vulnerable Populations, is hosting 10 early-career faculty for two weeks beginning July 20 as part of the Research in Implementation Science for Equity (RISE) program.

RISE aims to enhance the diversity of the biomedical research workforce by training and sustaining junior faculty underrepresented in biomedical sciences for long-term success in academic careers pursuing innovative research of interest to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which funds the program.

The two-week RISE Summer Institute provides methodological training on implementation science to enhance the ability of participating scholars to conduct innovative research and compete successfully for NIH resources.

The 10 participating scholars are:

Erica Farrand, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy, and Sleep Medicine
University of California San Francisco

Erica Farrand earned her medical degree from Columbia University and completed her internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital - Columbia University. She completed fellowship training in pulmonary and critical care medicine at University of California San Francisco. Her research interests include advancing the quality, safety, and accessibility of health care in interstitial lung disease through the development, implementation and adoption of digital health tools and expansion of telehealth services.  She aims to leverage implementation science methodology to develop stakeholder-informed health system interventions and generate real-world evidence that is accessible, responsive, and applicable to the needs of patients and providers. 

Roger Figueroa, PhD, MPH, MSc
Provost New Faculty Fellow (2019-2020) and Assistant Professor
Social and Behavioral Science in Nutrition
Division of Nutritional Sciences
College of Human Ecology at Cornell University

Dr. Roger Figueroa earned a B.A. in Physical Education at Bayamón Central University in Puerto Rico. Then, he earned an M.Sc. in Health and Kinesiology from UT-San Antonio. Subsequently, he completed M.P.H. and Ph.D. degree-programs through the I-TOPP fellowship program at the University of Illinois. He also completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Department of Nutrition.

Dr. Figueroa's research combines concepts and methods across disciplinary boundaries to examine interconnections between the social and behavioral determinants of health, with a particular focus on children’s energy-balance behaviors in underrepresented and low-income communities. To date, Dr. Figueroa has developed a comprehensive skill foundation in research methods, including training in a broad range of quantitative (i.e., advanced linear modeling, structural equation modeling, psychometrics), qualitative methods (i.e., grounded theory, ethnography, qualitative GIS), and mixed-methods. Roger has received training and research funding support from the USDA, NIH, and from other institutional-level grant programs.

Ines Gonzalez-Casanova, PhD
Assistant Professor of Global Health
Emory University
Director of the Health Window (Ventanilla de Salud), Atlanta, GA

Ines Gonzalez-Casanova studied clinical nutrition at the Mexican School of Nutrition and Dietetics and received her PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences from Emory University.  Her postdoctoral training was in epidemiology and maternal and child health at the Department of Global Health of Emory University, where she now works as assistant professor. Her primary line of research centers on understanding the biological and sociocultural pathways behind chronic disease across the lifespan with particular focus on Hispanic populations, and on identifying evidence-based preventive interventions to address these pathways. She also directs the Ventanilla de Salud (Health Window) Atlanta program, which provides health education, screenings and referrals to Mexicans living in the Southeast of the US. 

Rachel W. Goode, PhD, MPH, MSW
Assistant Professor
School of Social Work
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Rachel W. Goode received her PhD in Social Work, and MPH from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of behavioral interventions to prevent and treat binge eating and obesity. Additionally, Dr. Goode is a licensed clinical social worker and has practice experience in the treatment of eating disorders and obesity among clients in university counseling centers and community-based mental health agencies.  She seeks additional training in implementation science to advance the dissemination of interventions to reduce racial disparities in obesity and eating disorder treatment outcomes in integrated healthcare settings. 

David Haynes, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Health Informatics
University of Minnesota

Dr. Haynes is an Assistant Professor with the Institute for Health Informatics at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in Geographic Information Science. Dr. Haynes is a broadly trained health geographer who uses cutting-edge spatial analysis methods to advance our knowledge of health and cancer disparities. He employs GIScience methods and big data tools to answer substantive research questions about health disparities and relationships between place (location and time) and the prevalence of disease in specific sub-populations. Dr. Haynes has employed geospatial techniques to improve breast cancer screening rates for uninsured and under-insured women.

Anika L. Hines, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor in Health Behavior and Policy
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Anika L. Hines, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in Health Behavior and Policy at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Dr. Hines is a health equity researcher focused on chronic stress within the context of neighborhoods and the broader social environment. Using a multidisciplinary approach and community-based participatory methods, she seeks to: 1) understand mechanisms by which stress facilitates chronic disease progression among racial/ethnic minorities; 2) identify modifiable targets for intervention; and 3) devise responsive, multi-level, evidence-based interventions to eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in cardiovascular-related diseases. Upon graduation from the Johns Hopkins General Internal Medicine Fellowship in Behavioral Aspects of Vascular Diseases (NIH T32), she was awarded the 2018 Fatemeh Vahabzadeh Award for her cross-collaborative research in these areas. She holds a Ph.D. in Health and Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, an MPH in Health Policy and Administration from Yale University, and a BS degree in biological sciences from the Hampton University Honors College.  


Tashara M. Leak, PhD, RDN
Lois and Mel Tukman Assistant Professor Division of Nutritional Sciences
Cornell University

Assistant Professor of Nutrition Research in Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine
Weill Cornell Medicine

Tashara Leak earned a PhD in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and completed her postdoctoral studies in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. As a health equity researcher, she designs interventions that address socio-economic and environmental influences on food choices, while drawing upon her expertise in mixed methods and community-based research. More specifically, Tashara designs innovative and culturally inclusive interventions that aim to improve dietary behaviors and health outcomes among minority adolescents that reside in urban, low-income communities. She is deeply committed to conducting research that informs public health programming and policy.


April Mohanty, MPH, PhD
Core Investigator 
Informatics, Decision-Enhancement and Analytic Sciences Center (IDEAS)
VA Salt Lake City Health Care System

Research Assistant Professor (Affiliated)
Division of Epidemiology
Department of Internal Medicine
University of Utah School of Medicine

April Mohanty's research goals are to identify and reduce health inequalities in cardiovascular disease prevention, management, and related outcomes. Dr. Mohanty has training in epidemiology, health services, and biomedical informatics and has applied these skills to address gaps in research related to cardiovascular diseases including sudden cardiac arrest, heart failure, and hypertension. Her VA-funded Career Development Award aims to identify reasons for racial disparities in blood pressure management and control. Her research will lead to the development of a tailored informatics clinical decision support tool designed to reduce health inequalities in blood pressure management and ultimately to improve blood pressure control for all Veterans. Dr. Mohanty received her MPH and PhD in epidemiology from the University of Washington School of Public Health and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Medical Informatics through the Salt Lake City VA.

Anarina Murillo, PhD
Assistant Professor 
Department of Pediatrics
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Senior Biostatistician
Center for Statistical Sciences
Brown University School of Public Health

Anarina Murillo completed her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics with a Certificate in Statistics at Arizona State University. She joined Brown as a visiting researcher affiliated with the Data Science Initiative and then later joined the Department of Pediatrics and Center for Statistical Sciences. Prior to Brown, she was an NIH T32 postdoctoral fellow in the statistical genetics and obesity training programs in the Department of Biostatistics and NIH-funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her research interests are broadly in topics related to health policy and interventions with statistical applications to obesity, diabetes, nutrition, cardiovascular disease, and health disparities. Her methodological interests are in the intersection of statistical inference, mathematical modeling, and simulation studies for the prediction of health outcomes in the context of health policy and interventions.

Jorge Rodriguez, MD
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

Jorge Rodriguez earned his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed his Internal Medicine training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He went on to complete a Clinical Informatics fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is currently a faculty member and hospitalist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA. Dr. Rodriguez's research and passion lie in the meaningful intersection of medicine, social justice, and technology. Currently, he is focused on bridging disparities in patient-facing health technology, including patient portals and telehealth, especially among limited English proficient patients. 


Check out Cohort 7 RISE Fellows >