UCSF Population Health and Health Equity Scholars

2021 Scholars

The pilot awards go to support innovative research or programming already underway and led by the scholars.

Jessica Beaman MD MPH, Department of Medicine

Proposal title: Understanding Barriers to Abortion Provision in the United States

Abstract: The inequities in access to abortion care have disproportionately affected individuals who live at or below the federal poverty level, those in rural communities, younger individuals, and communities of color and have left the vast majority of individuals in our country without access to local abortion services. This study seeks to identify the barriers and discriminatory practices that physicians encounter when seeking to integrate abortion care into their careers in an effort to identify solutions to mitigate these challenges. This understanding could lead to interventions aimed at increasing the number of physicians providing abortion care in our country so that the medical community can provide more equitable access to this timely and essential service.

About Dr. Beaman: Dr. Beaman is a clinician-educator and general internist in the Division of General Internal Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital. Her areas of interest for her clinical work, research and advocacy are focused on women’s health, family planning, abortion access, and reproductive justice. She is committed to exploring avenues for expanding access to family planning and abortion care in the primary care setting. Dr. Beaman is a primary care provider who sees patients at the Richard T. Fine People’s Clinic at SFGH.

Carrie Chan MSN, CPNP, School of Nursing, Department of Family Health Care Nursing

Proposal title: PrEP Facilitators, Barriers, and Preferences: Perspectives from San Francisco Bay Area Youth

Abstract: Youth at high risk for HIV acquisition face unique barriers to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) initiation and continuation that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This project aims to triangulate youth barriers, facilitators, and preferences through formative qualitative research. Results from preliminary data will be used to develop a PrEP care delivery model based on youth perspectives.

About Ms. Chan: Ms. Chan joined UCSF as a faculty member in the Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program in 2018. She has practiced clinically at Stanford Children's Health since 2012 where she also currently serves as Manager of Advanced Practice. In 2019, she joined a small group of pediatric providers to launch the Stanford Virtual PrEP Program for Adolescents and Young Adults.

Maria Esteli Garcia, MD MPH MAS Department of Medicine

Proposal title: Engaging community stakeholders to achieve mental health equity for patients with language barriers in San Francisco during the COVID-19 pandemic

Abstract: Depression leads to increased morbidity and mortality; patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) face additional challenges when obtaining treatment for depressive symptoms. While systematic depression screening and a focus on initial treatment in primary care may help reduce these disparities in depression care, a community-engaged approach is needed to ensure population mental health equity. The proposed study is expected to improve depression care for patients with LEP by engaging community mental health providers, leaders, and advocates to understand how depression care provision has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and to address gaps in existing care for patients with LEP.

About Dr. Garcia: As a clinician investigator, Dr. Garcia focuses on co-morbid mental health and chronic diseases and their disproportionate impact on vulnerable and marginalized populations and conducts research on mental health integration in primary care, with a focus on racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse populations. Dr. Garcia is an internist who sees patients at UCSF Mt. Zion.

Orlando Harris, PhD, RN, FNP, MPH, School of Nursing, Department of Community Health Systems

Proposal title: “Our Lives Matter”: Exploring Barriers and Facilitators to COVID-19 vaccination and the Impact of the Pandemic on Black/African American Sexual Minority Men

Abstract: There is an urgent convergence of two pandemics that is disproportionately affecting marginalized racial (Black/African American) and sexual minority men, HIV and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The current COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted HIV treatment and prevention services, with the full impact of that disruption still unknow. Through in-depth semi-structured individual interviews with Black/African American sexual minority men we will qualitatively explore the impact of COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders on access to care, resource security, well-being, and identify multilevel factors affecting COVID-19 vaccination acceptance and uptake.

About Dr. Harris: Dr. Harris is a researcher who uses community-based participatory research methods both in the United States and the Caribbean, leveraging multi-methods data to inform culturally relevant interventions that improves the lives of vulnerable sexual and gender minorities. His research aims to give voice to sexual and gender minorities in Jamaica and the wider Anglophone Caribbean in order to reduce disparities in health among marginalized communities.

Jennifer James, PhD, MSW, MSSP, School of Nursing, Institute of Health and Aging

Proposal Title: Community engaged research on aging, incarceration, and health: The development of an Inside- Outside Prison Advisory Board

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light structural issues in the delivery of healthcare and the prevention of disease for incarcerated older adults. The disparate impact of the pandemic on people who are incarcerated is a critical issue of health equity and there is a need for community-based research to both understand current challenges and identify evidence-based interventions. We propose to develop an innovative, community-academic partnership through creation of an “Inside-Outside Prison Advisory Board” which will include currently and formerly incarcerated people, family and loved ones, and correctional healthcare professionals who will, together, serve as an advisory board that engages in community based participatory research to: (1) better understand the experience of people who are aging in prison, especially during a global pandemic, and (2) generate testable ideas for how to curb transmission and mitigate risk of COVID-19 for older patients in correctional facilities

About Dr. James: Dr. James is a qualitative researcher and Black Feminist scholar whose research lies at the intersection of race, gender and health, with a specific focus on experiences of cancer and chronic illness. Her work is currently in two main areas. First, how patients understand genomic risk for breast cancer and make breast cancer screening decisions. Second, she is studying experiences of aging, health and illness for people who are or have been incarcerated.

Marianna Kong MD, Department of Family and Community Medicine

Proposal Title: Reducing inequities through team-based telehealth in safety net populations

Abstract: With telehealth becoming a standard modality of care during the COVID-19 pandemic, dedicated interventions to address equity are crucial for vulnerable populations (including patients who are non-English proficient, identify as racial/ethnic minorities, or are low-income) for whom disproportionate access to telehealth threatens to exacerbate existing health inequities. This project will evaluate the impact of new team-based telehealth workflows in primary care to offer telehealth meaningfully to patients in a safety net setting by having care team members 1) engage and coach patients around using televisits, and 2) ensure televisits incorporate preventive and chronic disease care (such as cancer screenings, smoking cessation and diabetes care). Using an equity lens to study the impact of these workflows on access to care, preventive/chronic care measures, patient experience, and clinician/staff experience will contribute to the identification and dissemination of best practices for providing telehealth care to vulnerable populations in an equitable fashion.

About Dr. Kong: Dr. Kong is a primary care provider in the San Francisco Department of Public Health at the Silver Avenue Family Health Center and leads the Clinic First initiatives at the Center for Excellence in Primary Care, which aim to disseminate best practices in primary care teaching clinic transformation.

Boon Lead Tee, MD, MS Assistant Professor, UCSF School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health, Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI)

Proposal title: "Population-specific validation of neuropsychological tests for Chinese American individuals"

 Abstract Dr. Tee: Dr. Tee's project focuses on examining the neuropsychological and neuroanatomical interpretations of the numerous cognitive tests adopted for the Chinese American population at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. Additionally, she will investigate continuous quantitative methods to characterize the multilingual and multi-cultural features of Chinese American population.

About: Dr. Boon Lead Tee is a neurologist who specializes in various dementia syndromes, particularly primary progressive aphasia that predominantly manifests with speech and language impairments. She is developing linguistically and culturally adapted cognitive assessment tools for Chinese populations that suffer from neurodegenerative diseases and studying their neural basis variability across populations. Dr. Tee completed her medical and master’s degree at National Taiwan University and her residency at National Taiwan University Hospital/En-Chu-Kong Hospital. She is an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI).

Ariana Thompson-Lastad PhD, Department of Family and Community Medicine

Proposal title: Group Medical Visits and Produce Prescriptions: Addressing Food Insecurity and Social Isolation in Perinatal Care

Proposal Abstract: This proposal is to provide supplementary support for health equity-focused research that I am conducting as part of the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) K12 program. The proposed research focuses on understanding the implementation of and potential synergy between group perinatal care (GPC) and produce prescriptions in perinatal care, with an emphasis on upstream factors (food insecurity and social isolation) that affect a wide range of maternal health outcomes.

About Dr. Thompson-Lastad: Dr. Thompson-Lastad is a medical sociologist at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, where her research focuses on addressing social and structural determinants of health in primary care, and advancing health equity through integrative health care. Her current projects includes collaborations with community health centers to understand the implementation and outcomes of group medical visits and other innovative models of care.

Alfa Yansane PhD, School of Dentistry, Department of Preventive & Restorative Dental Sciences

Proposal title: Uncovering Oral Health Disparities within Machine Learning Algorithms

Abstract: Uneven progress has been made in the improvement of oral health care and one of the mechanisms that allows such disparities to persist is algorithmic bias in AI and Machine Learning. There is a dearth of knowledge regarding biases found within the predictive analytics methodology. As such, the objectives of this project are to estimate the level of disparities in the predictions made by AI and machine learning models.

About Dr. Yansane: Dr. Yansane is an Assistant professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry. He received his MA in Biostatistics from Harvard University in 2007, and a PhD in Biostatistics from Harvard University in 2012. His current research interests and areas of study include statistical modeling for clinical information within the electronic health record, oral health delivery systems, patient safety, and oral health quality.


2020 Scholars

The pilot awards go to support innovative research or programming already underway and led by the scholars.  

The awards will go to support innovative research or programming already underway and led by the Scholars. The work in this year’s class focuses on a wide array of local, national, and global healthcare challenges and questions, including:

  • reducing sweet beverage consumption among low-income Latino children,
  • understanding primary care management of dementia and co-morbid conditions in underserved and underrepresented populations,
  • disparities in poor birth outcomes: undernutrition, race and poverty,
  • improving population oral health,
  • PrEP product and care delivery preferences to advance HIV prevention for young African women,
  • understanding barriers to postpartum retention in HIV care among women in Southwest Uganda,
  • place-level racial bias and birth outcomes,
  • digital health interventions for rural Native American veterans,
  • integrating biologic, psychosocial and neighborhood-level factors of adherence to antiretroviral therapy in gender minority adults, and
  • enhancing access for hypertension screening and treatment among African Americans in the Bay Area.

Read about the scholars and their projects.

2019 Scholars

The work in this year’s class focused on cancer health disparities, the impacts of long-term immigration policy-related stressors on population health, sexual and reproductive health inequities among marginalized populations, and subsidized housing’s impact on the implementation of smoke-free policies.