UCSF welcomes Cohort 9 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:

Andrew Anderson, PhD, is a health services researcher and assistant professor in the department of health policy and management at the Tulane School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine. His research aims to identify the social, behavioral, and environmental drivers of health outcomes to inform the development of policy that supports high-quality, equitable health care. Before Tulane, Andrew was a research scientist and Phyllis Torda health care quality fellow at the National Committee for Quality Assurance and a director of quality measurement at the National Quality Forum. He is also a former health policy research scholar with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His primary goal is to develop performance measures and interventions to better enable health care, public health, and social service organizations to share common benchmarks and develop actionable solutions to eliminate health and health care disparities.


Andrea Duran, PhD, is an associate research scientist at the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health (CBCH) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, as well as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation health policy research scholar alumna. She received her PhD in Kinesiology at Columbia University and completed her post-doctoral fellowship in Implementation Science in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Her current research focuses on developing equitable, theory-informed, multilevel implementation strategies for integrating evidence-based physical activity guidelines and novel behavioral interventions into diverse healthcare and community settings, with the aim of reducing health disparities in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Dr. Duran’s interest in the behavioral sciences and CVD prevention is driven by her dedication to address the high rates of physical inactivity and CVD in disadvantaged communities.

As an Hispanic woman, she is the first in her family to attend graduate school, which fuels her desire to progress as an emerging leader and researcher that can work effectively at the intersection of exercise physiology and implementation science (i.e., implementation kinesiology), while engaging in transformative interdisciplinary research, and paving a path for future generations of scientists from diverse backgrounds. In addition to her research efforts, Dr. Duran also leads the CBCH’s “Keeping the Momentum” Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative to combat institutional racism and promote social justice, which received an Addressing Racism Seed Grant from the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement, and serves as the assistant director of the CBCH fellowship program.


Michelle Keller, PhD, MPH, is an assistant professor in the department of medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and also holds an appointment as an adjunct assistant professor in the department of health policy and management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Keller’s current research focuses on developing and evaluating health system deprescribing interventions that reduce high-risk medication use in older adults. Dr. Keller recently conducted studies examining how clinicians incorporate patient comorbidities and risk factors when prescribing opioids, when and why clinicians adopt opioid risk mitigation strategies, and how health systems can use prescription-level data to understand population-level opioid and benzodiazepine prescribing. Dr. Keller is also an informatician and examines the effectiveness of health information technology interventions on improving the quality of care. In this work, she has co-authored peer-reviewed papers on topics such as the development of an online patient decision aid for patients with inflammatory bowel disease, how computers at the bedside impede communication during rounds in critical care surgical units, and the effect of computerized appropriateness alerts on inpatient costs and length of stay. Prior to working in health care, Dr. Keller worked as a journalist for publications such as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. She received her PhD and MPH in Health Policy and Management from UCLA and her BA in Human Biology from Stanford University. She is a member of the Cedars-Sinai Division of Informatics.


Gabriela Nagy received a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee prior to moving to Duke wherein she completed her pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral training. Dr. Nagy has 2 primary lines of research. First, she is a health disparities researcher whose recent work has focused starting to develop psychosocial interventions to reduce acculturative stress for Latinx immigrants. Second, she has led efforts to optimize learning methods in multicultural education. She has developed original coursework for clinical psychology PhD students, clinical psychology pre-doctoral interns, clinical psychology post-docs, psychiatry residents, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner students. Moreover, Dr. Nagy co-developed the Duke Multicultural Consultation Team, a weekly peer consultation service that incorporates consultation and didactics to increase capacity for delivery of quality care that is conscious of various contexts often encountered by marginalized communities. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine and a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing at Duke University.


Ana M. Palacios, MD, PhD, earned her medical degree from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia and received a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin while working as the Program Director of an international non-profit organization (The Mathile Institute). Ana’s research interests are focused on identifying sustainable, cost-effective solutions to address nutrition and health problems in underserved populations. Ana also completed a one-year postdoctoral fellow at the Texas Institute of Genomic Medicine, in Houston, Texas. She is an assistant professor in the department of applied health science at Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health.


Diana Parra, PhD, MPH, is a research assistant professor at the Brown School Prevention Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis. Throughout her work with underrepresented populations, she has become all too familiar with the low levels of well-being—including stress and sleep problems—that the population often experiences. As an Hispanic immigrant herself, she can relate to the cultural and socioeconomic challenges experienced by members of that community. She discovered yoga and meditation 9 years ago, in the midst of profound personal challenging experiences and the tools that these mind-body interventions provide her with helped me to develop the needed resilience to cope with the stressors she was facing at the time. It is therefore her goal to develop the evidence needed to implement mindfulness interventions to make them acceptable, appropriate, and feasible for the Hispanic immigrant community in order to improve their well-being. The training resources, institutional support, and unique mentorship that she will receive through her participation in the RISE year-long program will increase her ability and capacity to be successful in applying to and obtaining competitive funding mechanisms to support her long-term career goals.


Melody K. Schiaffino, PhD, MPH, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at San Diego State University, immigrated to the U.S. with her parents as a child. She had to learn to speak English while she learned about American culture. She helped interpret for older family members as she acquired language faster. These experiences and an family emphasis on the importance of education as a way out of poverty helped me dedicate herself to study. She initially intended to study medicine, but then discovered public health and epidemiology. She was further fascinated with healthcare delivery systems science and organizational and geographic drivers of sub-optimal outcomes for older and limited English proficient populations like her own family. This is the path she  have chosen, to identify, redesign, and improve the context, structures, and processes of care delivery that can make a difference in quality treatment and post-treatment survival for vulnerable older adults.  


Michael Stanton, PhD, is a licensed clinical health psychologist and assistant professor of public health at California State University, East Bay. Dr. Stanton's research examines how stress affects health behaviors, and his clinical work integrates mindfulness with cognitive behavioral therapy to treat both mental and physical health problems. Dr. Stanton is also a guest contributor to several Bay Area TV news stations, where he adds psychology expertise to the analysis of current events. He holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology, with a focus in behavioral medicine, from Duke University, and completed his postdoctoral training at Stanford University, He received his BA from Brown University.


Jessica Stern, MD, MS, is an assistant professor in the divisions of pediatric allergy and immunology and allergy, immunology and rheumatology at The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, NY. She graduated from Bowdoin College and received her medical degree from The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where she stayed to complete her combined internal medicine and pediatrics residency training, allergy and immunology fellowship, and Master’s in Clinical Investigation. Her research interests include the intersection of public health and allergic disease, including health care disparities and drug allergy. Her current research projects include identifying gaps in asthma in allergy care in Rochester, where the poverty rate is high, contributing to wide disparities in asthma outcomes among the region’s Black and Latinx communities. Dr. Stern is a consultant and contributes to NHLBI funded school-based asthma programs to incorporate assessment and access to specialty asthma and allergy care among children with moderate to severe asthma. Her initial work has found that multiple cohorts of school children with asthma have reports of allergic disease that is under-recognized and undertreated, which leads to worse asthma outcomes. Her career goals are to reduce health care disparities in asthma by integrating systems that address co-morbid allergic conditions, environmental triggers, and social determinants of health. She is working to create an integrated, multi-disciplinary, community-based intervention to address the influence of comorbid allergic disease on asthma outcomes. Given her interest in the epidemiology of allergic disease, and dissemination and implementation research, she has received institutional grant funding to develop a multi-disciplinary antibiotic stewardship program of penicillin allergy de-labeling. The goal of this program is to educate health care providers, patients, and the community of the misconceptions and potential negative consequence of erroneous penicillin allergy labels, and to de-label and improve health care outcomes for as many patients as possible. She is also the DEI leader for her division.


Erin Blakeney, PhD, MA is a research assistant professor in the department of biobehavioral nursing and health informatics at the University of Washington (UW) School of Nursing.  Her research focuses on team-based models of care as a way to close the gap between healthcare as it is and health care as it should be. She has nearly 15 years of experience as a health professions and health services researcher in developing, implementing, and testing team approaches to interdisciplinary education, healthcare, and research.  She earned my first bachelor’s degree in Politics and Environmental Studies from Whitman College, a second bachelor’s degree in nursing from Johns Hopkins University, and a master’s degree in International Education from New York University focusing on cross-cultural exchange and training. Prior to pursuing a PhD, she worked clinically in solid organ transplant, home care, disaster, and mobile/community health settings mostly in New York City.  She completed her PhD in Nursing Science at the University of Washington in 2014 and is currently in the third year of a 3-year NHLBI-funded K12 career development program focused on implementation science. She also co-leads the UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences Team Science Core. Her program of research is motivated by the understanding that how teams work together influences production of new knowledge and translation of research into practice along the entire classroom to bench to bedside spectrum. 

Check out the Cohort 8 RISE fellows here >