Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership (DICP) Faculty Fellowship
A two-year, non-degree Faculty Fellowship Program for Harvard Medical School (HMS) junior faculty that enables fellows to pursue activities that enhance their development as researchers and clinicians/teachers, leads to their advancement within the Harvard system, and promotes diversity within the HMS community. The Program will provide two years of fellowship support in the amount of $50,000 per year int ended to provide release time from clinical work to conduct an individual, mentored research project, participate in Fellowship-related activities, meet regularly with mentors, and present research findings at the annual Minority Health Policy Meeting.
- Doctoral degree (e.g. MD, PhD, DO, DMD, DDS)
- Harvard Medical School appointment at the level of Instructor or Assistant Professor
- Applications will also be considered from clinical or research fellows who are in the process of appointment/promotion to instructor and/or assistant professor at Harvard Medical School
DICP Faculty Fellows
2022 DICP Faculty Fellowship Recipients
Oren Ganor, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital
Division Chief and Mentor: John G. Meara, MD, DMD, MBA, Kletjian Professor of Global Surgery, Professor of Surgery in the Field of Pediatrics Plastic Surgery, Harvard Medical School; Plastic Surgeon-in-Chief, Boston Children’s Hospital
Project Title: “Effects of Gender-Affirming Hormones on Facial Anthropometrics in Transgender Youth”
Project Description: Gender-affirming, or "cross-sex", hormone therapy, is one of the most common interventions prescribed to transgender individuals with the intention of improving congruence between their sense of self and their external characteristics. While many changes resulting from these hormones have been documented, little is known about the impact of gender-affirming hormones on facial sexual dimorphism and what relationship these changes may have on psychosocial wellbeing. The proposed research addresses this dearth by examining the effects of gender-affirming hormones on facial anthropometrics and psychosocial wellbeing in a prospective cohort of 50 trans-masculine individuals starting gender-affirming testosterone at Boston Children's Hospital. In the context of increasing interest in gender-affirming surgeries, it becomes increasingly important for surgeons and patients alike to have quality data to guide decision-making. The proposed study is the first of its kind to prospectively measure the effects of gender-affirming hormones on facial anthropometrics and to study the relationship between facial anthropometric changes and gender congruence. These data have the potential to shape guidelines for decision-making around facial masculinization by providing estimates of the extent and speed of facial changes expected to occur on testosterone and may improve the ability of providers to counsel transgender patients on expected changes from gender-affirming hormones and how these hormones may affect the ideal timing of any desired facial surgical procedures.
Biography: Dr. Oren Ganor, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in complex reconstruction, microsurgery, and gender-affirming surgeries. He is a co-director of the Center for Gender Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, which is proud to be the first transgender surgical center in a pediatric hospital in North America. Dr. Ganor received his education and training in Israel. He later completed two clinical fellowships in Microsurgery at BIDMC, and Craniofacial & Pediatric Plastic Surgery at BCH, prior to joining as faculty at Boston Children’s Hospital. As part of his clinical work offering chest, genital, and facial surgeries, he is also deeply invested in clinical research and is currently working on several projects designed to improve surgical outcomes and quality of life of gender non-conforming individuals. Through his work, Dr. Ganor aspires to use research to enhance the field of gender-affirmation surgery, provide the highest quality of care to patients, and educate the next generation of healthcare providers in highest quality gender care.
Bon Trinh, PhD
Instructor, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Mentor: Daniel G. Tenen, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Professor of Hematology and Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Division Chief: David E. Avigan, MD, Chief of Division of Hematology and Hematologic Malignancies, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Project Title: " Preclinical Development of RNA-based Therapeutics for Acute Myeloid Leukemia"
Project Description: Survival rate of patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) remain at less than 30% and have not been significantly improved over the last decade. Innovative approaches for AML therapeutics are therefore needed. The PU.1 transcription factor is a critical regulator of normal hematopoiesis and functions as a key tumor suppressor in AML. However, there are no available therapies directly focus on this pivotal molecule. In general, therapeutically activating tumor suppressor transcription factors remains a technical challenge. Recently, we discovered a long noncoding RNA that functions as an RNA inducer of PU.1. We further demonstrated that the RNA inhibits AML cell growth and promote cell differentiation, indicating that it exhibits AML inhibitory functions. This proposal aims to utilize the RNA in developing RNA-based therapeutic approaches for AML. We propose to boost this RNA in AML cell lines and in mice using two FDA-approved delivery systems for clinical use, namely the Adeno-associated virus-mediated gene delivery and the poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide)-based nanoparticle (PLGA-NP) RNA delivery. We will validate the effects of the RNA on growth and differentiation of AML cell lines. Furthermore, we will determine whether the RNA reduces leukemia features and prolongs survival in AML mouse models. The success of this preclinical study will provide a proof-of-concept for approaches that utilize tumor-suppressing noncoding RNAs in AML therapeutics. Ultimately, this could result in further clinical studies leading to development of effective RNA-based drugs for blood malignancies and cancer.
Biography: Bon Trinh, PhD is an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a Staff Scientist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He received his PhD degree from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Throughout his research training at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center and Harvard, he has been investigating protein- and RNA-mediated gene regulations in diverse biological systems including normal blood development, cancer cell proliferation, drug resistance, tumor angiogenesis, and metastasis. Dr. Trinh’s current work focuses on understanding the role of proteins and RNAs, via modulation of chromatin architecture, in normal immune cell development and abnormalities in this molecular interplay in leukemia progression as well as developing therapeutic strategies targeting chromatin structure. His research has been supported by an K01 training grant from the National Cancer Institute. His work was selected for featuring at an early career highlight seminar for instructors and assistant professors of Beth Israel Medical Center, and was awarded an Abstract Achievement Award from the American Society of Hematology.
Ana Paula Abreu, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Mentor: Ursula Kaiser, MD, Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Department Chair: Joseph Loscalzo, MD, PhD, Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physics, Harvard Medical School; Head of the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Project Title: “Genomic and Clinicopathologic characterization of aggressive pituitary adenoma”
Project Description: Pituitary corticotroph adenomas (CA) are a pituitary tumor subtype with positive immunohistochemistry for ACTH. The pathogenesis of CA is poorly understood. These tumors can secrete bioactive ACTH resulting in excess of cortisol levels and Cushing disease (CD) or be extremely aggressive without secretion of bioactive ACTH, these are called Silent corticotroph adenomas (SCA). CA have high morbidity and mortality. CD is associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, anxiety and several other symptoms. Adenomas causing CD are usually small and difficult to identify in brain MRI, therefore full surgical removal is challenging. Medical treatment is usually not efficacious to treat the adenoma and drugs targeting the over secretion of cortisol are usually used with several side effects. The identification of somatic mutations in USP8 in CD provided exciting advances in this field identifying the molecular pathway driving these tumors with potential for target therapies. SCA are usually large adenomas presenting with compressive symptoms with aggressive markers in the pathology report. They are difficult to remove surgically due to invasiveness. Very little is known about the molecular pathways of these tumors. I have identified mutations in TP53, ATRX and DAXX in one third of these tumors. This proposal will explore target treatments for CD with USP8 mutations and the molecular pathways by which the loss of TP53, ATRX and DAXX result in SCA. I will also test target therapies for SCA. Dataobtained in this proposal will expand the knowledge on SCA generate potential tools for the treatment of CA.
Biography: Ana Paula Abreu Metzger, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS), an Associate Physician in Endocrinology at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, and a member of the faculty at Harvard-MIT Health Science & Technology. obtained her M.D. at the Faculty of Medicine of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil. She later obtained her Ph.D. degree at the Universidade de São Paulo. During her Ph.D. training, she worked to identify genes associated with Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism and Central Precocious Puberty and performed in-vitro experiments to understand the molecular mechanisms by which these genes act centrally to cause these disorders. Thereafter, she was awarded an NIH F05 International Neuroscience Fellowship to do her Postdoctorate Fellowship at BWH in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension. During this time, she initiated a collaborative study to perform whole-exome sequencing analysis of families with central precocious puberty.This study culminated in identifying the most common genetic cause of central precocious puberty, loss-of-function mutations in MKRN3. More recently, she was the recipient of an NIH K99/R00, "Pathway to Independence Award," to perform studies on the molecular mechanisms of action of MKRN3. Her work has been internationally recognized and she is the recipient of several awards, including the "Neena B. Schwartz Award" for best basic abstract by the Women in Endocrinology and the "Young Scientist Award" from the American Society for Clinical Investigation. She received the "2018 Department of Medicine Innovation Evergreen Fund Award" for studying genetic drivers of ACTH positive pituitary adenomas, leading her to start a new innovative translational research area to investigate molecular mechanisms driving the formation of corticotroph pituitary lesions and their behavior. Clinically she is interested in and takes care of patients with neuroendocrine, reproductive, and endocrine genetic disorders. She is one of the founders and now co-director of the Brigham Center for Endocrine Genetics, which seeks to expand the access to genetic counseling and testing in the Division of Endocrinology as well as to provide better training to trainees (or fellows) and provide personalized medicine to patients.
Ayobami Akenroye, MBChB, MPH
Member of Faculty, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Mentor: Scott Weiss, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Department Chair: Joshua Boyce, MD, Albert L. Sheffer Professor of Medicine in the field of Allergic Disease, Harvard Medical School; Chief, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Project Title: “Integrative Profiling of Response to Monoclonal Antibodies in Asthma"
Project Description: Multiple monoclonal antibodies are currently approved for the treatment of severe asthma with many individuals with severe asthma meeting eligibility criteria for two or more of these agents, i.e., “multiply eligible”. However, the monoclonal antibody that would provide the greatest clinical benefits in these multiply eligible patients is usually unknown. To date, models for prediction of response to these therapies based on clinical biomarkers such as peripheral blood eosinophil counts have demonstrated low accuracy. In this study, we seek to improve the predictive accuracy of these models by integrating sociodemographic and clinical features with immunologic profiling. We will apply supervised machine learning methods to develop models predictive of response which incorporate 1.) Sociodemographic and clinical features; 2.) Immunologic and metabolomic signatures. Subsequently, we will integrate all available features in a multidimensional model to identify novel clusters which will facilitate our understanding of treatment response to monoclonal antibodies in asthma.
Biography: Ayobami Akenroye is an Associate Physician in the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and Associate Epidemiologist in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Dr. Akenroye graduated top of her medical school class in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Subsequently. she arrived in the US for the MPH program at Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY, and clinical and research fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests are in asthma and pharmacoepidemiology. Specifically, her work focuses on the comparative effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies approved for the treatment of asthma, and the identification of predictors of response. She is the recipient of the BWH Minority Faculty Career Development Award and the NIH K99/R00 MOSAIC award to support her work using real-world data to generate evidence on the comparative effectiveness of therapies for the treatment of asthma. During the period of the Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership Faculty Fellowship, Dr. Akenroye will expand her skills to the use of pharmaco-omics approaches in predicting treatment response.
Asishana Osho, MD, MPH
Member of the Faculty of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital
Mentor: Oluwaseun Johnson-Akeju, MD, Henry Isaiah Dorr Associate Professor of Research and Teaching in Anaesthetics and Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School; Head of the Department of Anaesthesia, Massachusetts General Hospital
Department Chair: Keith Lillemoe, MD, W. Gerald Austen Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School; Head of the Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital
Project Title: "A Randomized Controlled Trial of Low-dose Amiodarone for Preventing Atrial Fibrillation following Major non-coronary Cardiac Surgery"
Project Description: The incidence of atrial fibrillation following major cardiac valve surgery is unacceptably high. 30-50% of these patients will suffer post-operative atrial fibrillation with associated increases in the risk of developing further complications including stroke, heart failure and death. Despite this high rate of occurrence, the literature on postoperative atrial fibrillation is insufficient, with gaps in the knowledge about optimal prevention, duration of disease and patterns of presentation. Amiodarone, a medication that modulates the transmission of electrical signals in the heart, has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation in patients undergoing coronary surgery. However, this medication is not routinely used in cardiac surgery. Additionally, dedicated studies have not been performed in patients undergoing non-coronary cardiac operations (Including major valvular surgery and aortic procedures). We have designed a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of low-dose prophylactic amiodarone for the prevention of post-operative atrial fibrillation following major, non-coronary cardiac surgery. Integration of an analysis using wearable biosensors placed on the wrists and/or chests of study participants at the time of discharge will delineate the duration and characteristics of atrial fibrillation in discharged patients. Overall, this project innovates clinically and technologically to advance our understanding of a major cause of morbidity and mortality in cardiac surgery.
Biography: Dr. Asishana Osho is a surgeon in the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center at Massachusetts General Hospital who specializes in adult cardiac surgery, heart failure and thoracic transplantation. He earned a BA with high honors from Oberlin College, an MPH from the Yale University School of Public Health, and an MD from the Duke University School of Medicine. He completed residencies in general and cardiothoracic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Osho conducts clinical, translational and health services research to understand and improve health outcomes in patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery. He also has significant experience designing and implementing clinical trials in cardiothoracic surgery. Dr. Osho’s research projects have been supported by the American Heart Association, the Thoracic Surgery Foundation, and the Bollinger research program at Duke University.
Luis Gonzalez Castro, MD, PhD
Instructor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/ Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Mentor: Mario Suva, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Department Chair: Tracy T. Batchelor, MD, Miriam Sydney Joseph Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Neurologist in Chief, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Project Title: "Modulating the Disease Activity of Glioblastoma Via Cellular Reprogramming"
Project Description: Glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor, has a median overall survival of only 16 months. The cellular heterogeneity of glioblastoma is the main barrier to the effective treatment of this disease. Our work profiling gene expression in glioblastoma at single-cell resolution has demonstrated that the cellular heterogeneity of glioblastoma can be explained by the combination of four transcriptional programs - neural-progenitor-cell-like (NPC-like), oligodendrocyte-progenitor-cell-like (OPC-like), astrocytic-cell-like (AC-like), and mesenchymal-cell-like (MES-like). However, the gene regulation determinants of the transcriptional programs in each cellular state remain unknown. Knowledge of these regulatory elements will enable cellular reprogramming to decrease the tumor’s heterogeneity, making it less aggressive and more responsive to therapy. To establish the regulatory elements that underlie each gene expression program, I propose to profile available chromatin (as characterized by the assay of transposase accessible chromatin, ATAC) and gene expression at single-cell resolution in fresh tumor specimens from glioblastoma patients at the time of surgical resection. I will then perform motif enrichment analyses to determine which DNA-binding transcription factors control the transcription of the genes that characterize each transcriptional program. Subsequently, these findings will be validated through transcription factor overexpression experiments using patient-derived gliomaspheres, to demonstrate reprogramming of cellular states. Once the transcription factors that underlie cellular reprogramming are validated, I will perform a small molecule screen to identify candidates to disrupt transcription factor activity. These compounds will enable preclinical testing and eventual evaluation in clinical trials for the treatment of glioblastoma.
Biography: L. Nicolas Gonzalez Castro, MD, PhD is a neurologist and neuro-oncologist at the Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Center for Neuro-Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He trained in systems neuroscience and computational biology as an MD-PhD student at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and completed his neurology residency at the Harvard Neurology Residency Program (Massachusetts General Hospital / Brigham and Woman’s Hospital). He did his neuro-oncology training at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center / Brigham and Woman’s Hospital - Dana Farber Cancer Center Fellowship Program. His current research focus is in understanding the cellular programs that underlie differentiation, survival and resistance to treatment in primary brain tumors.
2021-2023 DICP Faculty Fellowship Recipients
Monik Jimenez, ScD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Mentor: Kathryn M. Rexrode, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Department Chair: Joseph Loscalzo, MD, PhD, Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Head of the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Project Title: “Examining Stroke Symptoms as Markers of Stroke Risk among Hispanic/Latinx Adults”
Project Description: Hispanic/Latinx adults exhibit a significantly greater incidence of total stroke, younger age at stroke mortality, and worse neurologic, cognitive, and functional outcomes post-stroke than Whites. The Questionnaire for Verifying Stroke-Free Status is a novel and validated screening tool used to identify individuals at a high risk of incident stroke through the self-report of stroke symptoms (sudden onset of unilateral weakness, unilateral numbness, loss of vision, loss of half-vision, inability to understand, and inability to communicate). Endorsement of at least one stroke symptom is predictive of subsequent stroke incidence irrespective of other stroke risk factors, based on data from clinical and epidemiologic studies. However, current research has focused exclusively on non-Hispanic Black and White adults. The relationship between stroke risk factors and stroke symptoms among and between Hispanic/Latinx adults is uncertain as are appropriate interventions among those identified to be at high-risk.
This innovative project will provide actionable solutions to address inequities in stroke among Hispanic/Latinx adults by (1) assessing the association between diabetes and hypertension (severity and clinical control) and stroke symptoms and variability across heritage groups, (2) determining the clinical, socio-economic and socio-cultural factors explaining differences in stroke symptoms across heritage groups, and (3) assessing the feasibility of a culturally tailored screening intervention targeted to Hispanic/Latinx adults at high-risk of stroke. Data previously collected by the applicant on stroke symptoms from >8,000 participants of Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos will be utilized. Findings from this research will be used as preliminary data to support future R01 level applications.
Biography: Monik C. Jiménez is an Associate Epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She received both her master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Certificate in Oral Epidemiology from Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Her NIH funded work has examined the combined impact of race/ethnicity and sex in understanding the role of socioeconomic and behavioral factors in predicting, mediating and modifying inequities in stroke. She is the recipient of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Minority Faculty Career Development, the H. Richard Nesson Fellowship and a Health Equity Innovation Grant to support her work in cardiovascular health equity among incarcerated people. She is an elected Fellow of the American Heart Association and is the Chair of the Mid-Career Committee of the national Council Operations Committee. She is also a committed educator at the undergraduate and graduate level, serving as Program Director for a summer research program for URM students at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and course director of “Cardiovascular Epidemiology” and “Mass Incarceration and Health in the US” at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Marcella F. Luercio, MD
Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital
Mentor: Valerie Ward, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School; Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, Boston Children's Hospital
Division Chief: Christopher P. Landrigan, MD, MPH, William Berenberg Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Chief, Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital
Project Title: “Role of Implicit Bias in the Assessment of Medical Trainees: Analysis of Evaluations and Experiences from Residents of Diverse Racial/Ethnic Backgrounds”
Project Description: Increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the physician workforce is essential in promoting health equity and helping eliminate health disparities. Yet, there continues to be inadequate representation of individuals from underrepresented in medicine (URiM) backgrounds in medicine, especially in faculty and leadership positions. One possible explanation for this disparity is the infiltration of implicit bias in subjective performance evaluations, which hinders academic advancement. Studies of clerkship evaluations and Dean’s letters revealed significant differences in the language used to describe students by gender and race/ethnicity, with personality-based attributes (eg, nice, kind) more commonly used to describe female and URiM students and competency-based attributes (eg, knowledgeable, skilled) used to describe male and non-URiM students. To the best of our knowledge, there are no studies on the role of bias in URiM resident evaluations. Our two-part study will examine the role of bias in performance evaluations of URiM residents by: 1) comparing the language used in written evaluations of URiM vs. non-URiM residents using natural language processing; and 2) conducting a qualitative analysis of residents’ experiences in receiving biased or discriminatory feedback. The expected outcomes of this study are to inform local and national educational efforts to move towards more objective, competency-based evaluations and faculty training on giving effective feedback. Ultimately, addressing bias in evaluations may lead to more equitable academic advancement of URiM trainees and more URiM faculty/leaders in academic medicine.
Biography: Marcella Luercio, MD is an attending in Hospital Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She was born and raised in Fortaleza, Brazil, where inequities in the public education and health systems inspired her to pursue a career addressing inequities in medical education and health disparities. Her medical education work focuses on uncovering and addressing the role of implicit bias in performance assessments of trainees of underrepresented in medicine backgrounds. Her work aims to create equitable practices in clinical feedback to promote the advancement and retention of diverse trainees in academic medicine. She also conducts qualitative research exploring the experiences of patients and families with Limited English Proficiency during hospitalization.
Dr. Luercio received her undergraduate degree in biology from the Honors Program at the University of Michigan-Flint. After college, she completed a 2-year research training program at the National Institutes of Health, investigating health disparities in diabetes and heart disease. She completed medical school at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University and residency training at the Boston Combined Residency in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center, where she also served as chief resident. She is a graduate of the Rabkin Fellowship in Medical Education at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In recognition of the impact of her projects, she has been awarded grants from the American Diabetes Association and Boston Children’s Hospital (Mark A. Schuster Seed Grant), and has been invited to present her work at several national meetings. In 2021, she was chosen as one of six junior faculty to participate in the Boston Children’s Underrepresented in Medicine Faculty Coaching and Academic Advancement Program. She is committed to mentoring trainees who are underrepresented in medicine and serves as a faculty advisor in the Diversity Council of the Boston Combined Residency in Pediatrics. She also sits on the residency’s Clinical Competency Committee.
Alister Francois Martin, MD
Instructor in Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital
Mentor: Ali Raja, MD, MBA, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Executive Vice Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Department Chair: David F. M. Brown, MD, Trustees Professor of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Project Title: "Expansion of Vot-ER’s Healthy Democracy Kit program as Part of a Nationwide Health Care-based Voter Registration Campaign"
Project Description: Massachusetts General Hospital Emergency Department (MGH ED) recently started Vot-ER which is a new operational initiative aimed at offering patients who are not registered to vote an opportunity to register using an online voter registration platform while in the ED. Our analysis aims to measure the rates of voter registration at Boston area hospitals and healthcare organizations through the 2021 Boston Mayoral election cycle. We also seek to use publicly available voter data to longitudinally track the patient population that has become registered in these settings in the lead up to the mayoral election in an effort to identify if they turn out to vote at higher rates than the average population.
Biography: Alister Martin, 32, is a practicing emergency physician and former Chief Resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. He served as a former Health Policy Aide to Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Congressman Raul Ruiz of California. He works at the intersection of public policy and medicine as research faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School Behavioral Insights Group and as clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School in the Center for Social Justice and Health Equity. He leverages his background in politics, policy, and the field of behavioral economics to use the ER as a place to build programs that serve the needs of vulnerable patients. He is the founder of Vot-ER, a nonpartisan voter registration organization that has organized over 26,000 healthcare providers and 300 hospitals to help non-urgent patients register to vote. He is the founder of Get Waivered, a program that is converting our nation’s ERs into the front door for opioid addiction treatment. He also co-founded GOTVax, an initiative aimed at leveraging a get out the vote framework to deliver vaccines directly to vulnerable communities throughout Boston via hyper-targeted vaccine pop up clinics. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rutgers where he was a Division 1 tennis player.
Carmen Tchokonthé Monthé-Drèze, MD
Instructor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Mentor: Sarbattama Sen, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Assistant of Pediatrics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Department Chair: Terrie E. Inder, MBChB, MD, Mary Ellen Avery Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Chair, Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Project Title: “Placental Function, Pro-Resolving Lipid Mediators and Developmental Programming of Adiposity”
Project Description: Maternal obesity in pregnancy program the offspring to increased risk for metabolic syndrome and obesity through the life course, a vicious cycle leading to transmission to subsequent generations. The placenta is a programming agent of adult health and disease, yet, little is known on the modifiable placental mechanisms that underpin transgenerational obesity. With the support from the DICP Faculty Fellowship Award, from July 1st, 2021 to June 30th 2023, I will conduct for the first time, a comprehensive characterization of placental SPM and their role in the metabolic programming of neonatal adiposity within the context of maternal obesity. Using placenta samples from a biorepository of an observational study of maternal-child dyads, I will examine associations of pre-pregnancy body mass index with placental concentrations of LC-PUFA and their SPM metabolites, measured using targeted lipidomics approach in Dr. Maddipati’s Lipidomic Core facility by UHPLC-MS. I will investigate associations of placental SPM concentrations with neonatal growth and adiposity. Finally, I will evaluate the metabolic role of placental SPM in neonatal growth and adiposity accrual. A comprehensive metabolic evaluation on placenta specimens will be performed using a novel multiplex platform (Nanostring) at the Molecular Genetics Core at Boston Children’s Hospital. I will perform statistical analyses to evaluate the role of placental SPM as mediators and effect modifiers in the associations of maternal obesity with placental metabolism and neonatal adiposity. In addition to fulfilling the requirements and obligations set forth by the DICP Faculty Fellowship Program, I will continue to participate in relevant educational and training opportunities, career development activities, present at scientific meetings, write and publish the resulting work, and meet with my mentor, collaborators, and department chair for additional guidance and mentorship during this period.
Biography: Dr. Monthé-Drèze is a Neonatologist and researcher at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine, and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She received her MD degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency at the Harvard Boston Combined Residency Program. She served as a Neonatal ICU Hospitalist for two years before completing her fellowship at the Harvard Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine program, where she served as Chief Fellow. Throughout her medical training to become a neonatologist, Dr. Monthé-Drèze appreciated how maternal health in pregnancy could impact offspring health throughout its life course. Her academic focus therefore has evolved to elucidate early (prenatal) life modifiable determinants of child outcomes. Considering the rising prevalence of childhood obesity – and its associated long-term health burden throughout the life course – Dr. Monthé-Drèze’s research seeks to provide novel insights onto its developmental origins and inform future intervention studies. While postnatal lifestyle is the most immediate cause of obesity, the influence of the maternal in-utero environment, specifically maternal obesity, is a significant contributor in the intergenerational vicious cycle of obesity. However, specific mediators of these long-term effects and the likely developmental programming mechanisms through which they operate remain unclear. Her research therefore seeks to characterize the underpinnings of transgenerational obesity through 1) Characterizing the role of maternal obesity and obesity-related inflammation on the development of (a) offspring obesity and (b) other related childhood outcomes which have been linked to childhood obesity such as cognition and behavior; 2) Investigating whether maternal diet and specific nutrient intakes during pregnancy have effects on offspring growth and development; 3) Elucidating whether exposure to maternal obesity in-utero may alter neurobiological processes that regulate appetite and hedonic eating behaviors in the offspring. The Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership Faculty Fellowship Award will give Dr. Monthé-Drèze the opportunity to expand her research into the role of specialized anti-inflammatory mediators in the developmental programming of adiposity. Dr. Monthé-Drèze aspires through her research to directly inform trials in pregnancy specifically targeted for the growing population of women with obesity, and which may have the potential to positively impact the health of the next generation.