Latino Health Conference 2017

Latino Health Conference 2017

The Values of Latino Health Research during Changing Times
**El Valor de la Investigación en Salud Latina durante Tiempos de Cambio**

May 11, 2017

William H Welch Medical Library 2nd floor, 1900 E Monument St, Baltimore, MD 21205

Please note that registration is required. To reserve your seat click here or the image below. Registration includes breakfast, lunch, and materials for the conference. Proceeds go to sponsor a high school student in the Centro SOL Summer Scholars Program

Centro SOL and the Urban Health Institute cordially invite you to the 2017 Latino Health Conference. This year’s theme is research in Latino Health. The conference brings together renowned researchers to address topics of interest for this year’s theme which has impact in health care quality and outcomes. There will be a speed mentoring session for young investigators or students interested in pursuing careers in research.
Community organizations are invited to attend the conference and reserve their seat for the Community-Driven Research luncheon.
Reserve your seat now, space is limited. More information and tickets at

#LHC2017 #research #LatinoHealth



8am – 9am Speed Mentoring – Welch Library, East Room
Renowned faculty will mentor junior researchers and graduate-level students interested in advancing their research projects and careers. To participate in this session, you must be registered.

9am – 9:30am         Registration and breakfast

9:30am – 10:15am Conference Opening – Keynote Speaker – Zeke Cohen, councilman, 1st District, Baltimore City

10:15am – 10:25am Young Investigator – José Domínguez, Centro SOL Scholar ’14

10:25am – 11:25am Panel 1: Research – A Solid Foundation for Advocacy – Tina Cheng, MD, MPH, and Josh Sharfstein, MD

11:25am – 11:35am Young Investigator – Tania Caballero, MD

11:35am – 12:35am Panel 2: Community and Academic Partnerships – Matthew DeCamp, MD, PhD (moderator); Omar Martinez, MPH, JD, MS; Anisha Patel, MD, MSPH, MSHS; Suzanne Grieb, PhD

12:35pm – 1:35pm Community-Driven Research – lunch – Community Based Organizations will discuss the importance of program evaluation and partnership with research teams.

1:35pm – 1:45pm Young Investigator – Alizay Jalisi, research assistant, Centro SOL

1:45pm – 2:45pm Panel 3: Current Funding Challenges and Opportunities – Brooke Lierman (moderator); Sandra San Miguel, MS; Cynthia Palacz, Assoc. Director Development

2:45pm – 2:55pm Young Investigator – Christiana Vargas, research assistant, Children’s Medical Practice, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

2:55pm – 3:15pm Closing Remarks


Tina L. Cheng, MD, MPH - Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Given Foundation Professor of Pediatrics
Director, Department of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
Pediatrician-in-Chief, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Professor of Population, Family & Reproductive Health
Bloomberg School of Public Health


Dr. Cheng is the Given Foundation Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Department of Pediatrics for the school of medicine with joint appointment in the Bloomberg School of Public Health and Pediatrician-in-Chief of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Her clinical work, teaching and research focuses on child, adolescent and family perspectives on improving health and community-integrated models to interrupt the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.  She co-leads the NIH-funded DC Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities which outlined a research action agenda on child health disparities. She led the establishment of two clinical and research innovation centers at Johns Hopkins: Centro SOL: Johns Hopkins Center for Salud/(Health) and Opportunity for Latinos and the Rales Center on the Integration of Health and Education.

Dr. Cheng is a devoted clinician who has developed community-integrated models of primary care to address the needs of vulnerable children, adolescents and families.  She was founder of the Generations Clinic in Washington, DC, a teen tot clinic that has been recognized as an evidence-based best practice in reducing rapid repeat pregnancy.  Finally, she is co-leading an innovative model of school health at the KIPP Baltimore schools to improve health and academic outcomes.

An author of over 150 publications, she has led randomized trials of interventions to promote child and family health and resilience.  She has mentored >50 interdisciplinary researchers and many more clinicians who have gone on to be leaders in primary care innovation and community health.  A Past President of the Academic Pediatric Association she has held leadership roles in the American Academy of Pediatrics.  She has received numerous recognitions including the American Academy of Pediatrics Education Award and the Job Lewis Smith Award for community pediatrics, the Vice Dean’s Award for the Advancement of Women Faculty and the Academic Pediatric Association’s Public Policy and Advocacy Award.

Josh Sharfstein, MD - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training
Inaugural Director, Bloomberg American Health Initiative
Professor of the Practice

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is the inaugural director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, associate dean for Public Health Practice and Training, and professor of the practice in the Department of Health Policy and Management. As the inaugural director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative (BAHI), Dr. Sharfstein oversees works on five critical health threats facing the United States: addiction and overdose, environmental challenges, obesity and the food system, risks to adolescent health and violence.

Previously, Dr. Sharfstein served as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Principal Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City, and as health policy advisor for Congressman Henry A. Waxman.

Zeke Cohen, councilman, First District, Baltimore City

Zeke Cohen represents the First District on the Baltimore City Council and is Chairman of the Education Committee.  After graduating from Goucher College Zeke taught in West Baltimore and brought a group of his eighth grade students to help rebuild a home in New Orleans. As a teacher Zeke was awarded the Elizabeth Larwence Prize for Excellence.  He attained a Masters Degree in Public Policy from John Hopkins University. Zeke started his non profit, The Intersection to help young people learn community organizing and civic leadership.  He ran for office with the belief that democracy only works when everyone has a voice in the process.

Matthew DeCamp, MD, PhD - Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

Matthew DeCamp, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and in the Johns Hopkins Division of General Internal Medicine.  A practicing internist, his current research focuses on ethical issues in health reform (focusing on accountable care organizations, ACOs).  With K08 funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, he is presently investigating how ACOs nationwide are engaging patients in board-level decisions about ACO priorities and programs, with plans to design improved engagement strategies.  Other interests include social media and medical professionalism, as well as ethics in global health (with special emphasis on short-term global health training).

After graduating from Purdue University (2000) with a degree in biochemistry, he entered the Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Training Program at Duke University.  His PhD (philosophy) thesis was entitled, “Global Health: A Normative Analysis of Intellectual Property Rights and Global Distributive Justice.” From 2008-2010 he was an internal medicine resident at the University of Michigan before completing a joint post-doctoral fellowship (2013) at Johns Hopkins in General Internal Medicine and Bioethics & Health Policy (through a Greenwall Fellowship).  Dr. DeCamp’s research includes both conceptual and empirical methods.  Additional relevant experience includes Institutional Review Board membership, as well as teaching and mentorship recognized with a 2013 Excellence in Global Health Advising Award by the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health.

Omar Martinez, MPH, JD, MS - Temple University

Dr. Omar Martinez is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Temple University. He completed his MPH in Health Policy and JD in Health Law at Indiana University in 2011 and 2012, respectively. He later went on to obtain an MS in Biostatistics at Columbia University in 2014.

His research interests lie in addressing health disparities affecting Latinos, especially immigrants, men who have sex with men (MSM), and male same-sex couples. His past and current research has pertained to syndemic factors and HIV risk in Latino MSM, development and implementation of HIV prevention programs, and health inequalities research.

Anisha I. Patel, MD, MSPH, MSHS - University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Anisha Patel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco.

 Dr. Patel’s research interests include developing and evaluating interventions and policies to prevent disparities in childhood obesity. She is widely recognized for her research examining drinking water access in schools; she has published widely on this topic and has a diverse funding portfolio ranging from the National Institutes of Health to foundations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Dr. Patel’s research has helped to inform the development of state and federal policy that requires drinking water access in food service areas in schools.  For this work, Dr. Patel has been recognized with an Academy of Pediatrics Outstanding Achievement Award and a Sidney S. Chipman Alumni Award from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.   

Dr. Patel received her MD and MSPH at the University of North Carolina, completed her pediatric residency at Stanford, and obtained a masters in health services research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Patel’s clinical practice in is outpatient general pediatrics. She sees patients at the UCSF Mount Zion campus and at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Suzanne Grieb, PhD - Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Dr. Suzanne Dolwick Grieb is a Research Associate in the Department of Pediatrics Center for Child and Community Health Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She completed her MSPH in Tropical and Communicable Diseases at the University of South Florida, and her PhD in medical anthropology at the University of Florida.

Dr. Grieb’s research focuses on improving access to sexual health services for underserved populations, with a specific focus on youth and young adults in disadvantaged communities and Latino immigrants. She works closely with the Baltimore City Health Department to develop and/or adapt programs with the aim of reducing structural and social barriers to STI/HIV testing for these populations.  She is currently the Principal Investigator of an Adelante Grant from the NIH/NIAID to identify social network characteristics within the emerging Latino immigrant community in Baltimore that can be leveraged to promote stigma reduction and improve HIV testing.

Brooke Lierman, delegate, 46th Legislative District, Maryland

Brooke Elizabeth Lierman was elected to represent Maryland’s 46th Legislative District in the House of Delegates in 2014, and sits on the Appropriations Committee, as well as several joint committees. Brooke worked hard over the course of her year-long campaign, knocking on over 14,000 doors and holding over 50 house parties in neighborhoods to connect with constituents across District 46. From Cherry Hill to Canton, Fell’s Point to Federal Hill, Hampstead Hill to Highlandtown, she canvassed in every neighborhood and was the top vote-getter for Delegate in both the primary and general elections. The 46th District includes all the neighbors of abutting or near the water in Baltimore City, and boasts one of the most diverse populations of any district in the State.

Brooke graduating at the University of Texas School of Law in 2008. After graduating Brooke worked for a national law firm in Boston for one year before moving to Baltimore to clerk first for the Honorable Benson E. Legg and then for the Honorable Deborah A. Chasanow (D. Md.).
Brooke lives in Fell’s Point with her husband, Eben Hansel, and four-year old son, Teddy. She has been named a Maryland Rising Star by Super Lawyers annually since 2013, was named one of Baltimore Sun’s “50 Women to Watch” in 2014, and has sat on numerous non-profit boards, including CPHA, the Fell’s Point Residents Ass’n, the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, and Advocates for Children & Youth.
She is very grateful to the BEST Democratic Club for all its work and advocacy, and is honored to be receiving an award from so many people that she has long admired.

Sandra L. San Miguel, MS - National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities

Sandra L. San Miguel is currently working at the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.

Sandra has over 20 years of public health experience developing, implementing and evaluating culturally specific, evidence-based interventions among racially/ethnically diverse populations. San Miguel has served at several prestigious universities, including Baylor College of Medicine, as professor and lecturer at Trinity University, and as faculty for the past 10 years at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). In 2010, as Latino Cancer Health Specialist for the LIVESTRONG Foundation, Sandra assisted in the implementation of a successful, multi-million dollar, bilingual National Outreach Campaign geared for the Latino market, and led the training and retention of community health workers/promotores to offer support and services to cancer survivors nationally and internationally. Her global work has expanded into Latin America through a collaboration with the Global Cancer Institute, a nonprofit organization based at the University of Massachusetts where Sandra serves as research design consultant and has developed a global patient navigation curriculum training medical research teams in Mexico, City and South America (Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay).

Sandra has assisted in the development and management of multiple evidence-based nationally-funded NCI grants, such as the 15-year program, Redes En Acción: The National Latino Cancer Research Network, and for the past six years has served as its designated National Community Health Educator and interim GMaP coordinator.

In 2016, Sandra San Miguel was recognized by the U.S. White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics for mentoring young Latina students. In 2012, Sandra had the honor of being invited to speak at a Latina Health Policy Briefing at the White House alongside Kathleen Sebelius, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. In 2013, during her faculty appointment at the School of Medicine at UTHSCSA, San Miguel received one of the highest honors by being awarded the Dr. Margaret Sue Keir Hoppe Research Ethics Award. Sandra recently conducted the first ever NCI Facebook Live Event alongside Dr. Elmer Huerta to increase colorectal cancer screening among Hispanics/Latinos. She also recently hosted SaludLive, a weekly bilingual (English/Spanish) Internet health news report on a live global platform to promote health education, targeting the Latino population for Salud America! funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). San Miguel earned a Master of Science in Psychology (Summa cum laude) from Our Lady of the Lake University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Cum laude) from the University of the Incarnate Word, both universities located in San Antonio, Texas. Sandra is multilingual (English, Spanish and French) and bicultural (Mexican-American).

Cynthia Palacz - Johns Hopkins Children Center

Cynthia Palacz is a self-motivated, enthusiastic young professional with a passion for fundraising and children’s health. Cynthia currently serves as the Senior Associate Director of Development for the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Maryland’s largest pediatric hospital. In this role, Cynthia oversees the Children’s Center’s partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, managing all corporate campaigns and programs, including the MIX 106.5 Radiothon. She also oversees overall Corporate Relations strategy and growth, stewardship and recognition programs, the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Corporate Advisory Board and a team of two major gift officers.
Since joining the Children’s Center team in 2011, Cynthia has been integral in raising over $16 million. Prior to her role at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Cynthia served as the Manager of Children’s Expressions at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. A Chicago native and a die-hard Cubs and Blackhawks fan, Cynthia resides in the Canton neighborhood with her husband and two rescued husky-mix pups.

Amy Gawad, MPH - Urban Health Institute

Amy Gawad is the Program Director at the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute (UHI) where she is responsible for developing new initiatives and overseeing ongoing activities within the Institute.  Prior to coming to Hopkins, she was with the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine. While there, she served as the senior research associate on a number of reports, including Ethical Considerations for Research on Housing-Related Health Hazards Involving Children; Working Families and Growing Kids: Caring for Children and Adolescents; and Community Programs to Promote Youth Development.  She received her Master of Public Health degree from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

Young Investigators

Tania Caballero, MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Tania is a pediatrician and pediatric academic fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Division of General Pediatrics. Tania served as an AmeriCorps volunteer and HIV counselor at La Clinica Del Pueblo in Washington, DC before continued to medical school and pediatric residency. She currently sees pediatric patients at the Children’s Medical Practice at Bayview Medical Center. Her research interests include the health of Latino children in immigrant families, particularly how pediatricians can improve child health and resilience through addressing family health. Her current research focuses on understanding the unmet contraceptive needs of mothers of young children in the Children’s Medical Practice. Tania currently resides in Baltimore city with her husband and son. 

Tania was awarded with the Academic Pediatrics Association Bright Futures grant that funded her contraceptive unmet need project. And has also collaborate with the Abell Foundation Grant that will focus on increasing access to contraceptives at Children's Medical Practice for vulnerable Latina teens, particularly those who are insurance ineligible.


Alizay Jalisi, Johns Hopkins University

Alizay Jalisi is a third year undergraduate student enrolled at Johns Hopkins University. She is majoring in Molecular & Cellular Biology and Spanish. 

In May 2015, she became involved with Centro SOL's Testimonios due to an interest in mental health and learning more about the vibrant immigrant communities in Baltimore. Since then, she has helped design, implement and analyze a telephone survey for consenting Testimonios participants to generate a participant profile, collect feedback on efficacy and sustainability, and determine barriers to healthcare utilization faced by Baltimore’s Latino community. She also started a photography blog (“Los inmigrantes de Baltimore”) featuring Testimonios participants' stories. Her favorite aspect of being involved in Testimonios is the sense of communality and empowerment she feels whenever she attends Testmonios sessions (despite the fact that her Spanish is still a work in progress!). 

In the future, Alizay hopes to unite her interest in immigrant communities and public health through a career in medicine. In her free time, Alizay likes to read, watch films, do yoga and travel. 

Christiana Vargas, Johns Hopkins University

Christiana Vargas is a senior undergraduate student at The Johns Hopkins University studying Cognitive Science and Latin American Studies. She was born in San Jose, Costa Rica to parents of Nicaraguan descent and moved to Miami, FL at the age of five. As a result of her diverse cultural upbringing, she hoped to become engaged with the Latino community when she began her studies in Baltimore.

During her junior year at Hopkins, she began working as a research assistant for the Children's Medical Practice at Johns Hopkins Bayview with Dr. Wendy Bennett and Dr. Sarah Polk on projects aimed at improving women’s healthcare during pregnancy and postpartum, focusing primarily on the Latino population. The experience Christiana gained as a research assistant has helped guide her interest in public health. Upon graduation, Christiana hopes to move to Los Angeles, CA and work closely with the Latino population through public health initiatives.

José Domínguez, Morgan State University

José Dominguez is a Baltimore City Community College graduate with an associate in computer information systems. He is currently a transfer student at Morgan State University studying electrical engineering. He was born in Izucar de Matamoros Puebla, Mexico and moved to Baltimore when he was 12 years old. Jose is an activist in his community and has volunteered in different organizations that help and advocate for the well-being of the communities in Baltimore, MD.

After graduating high school, he became part of the first cohort of the Centro SOL Summer Scholars Program. He learned that there are plenty of opportunities for applied technology in medicine and health fields. During his second year as a returning student, José joined the research study team Salud al Día (Up to Date Health). He is currently working on the study as a data analyst for data generated by the participants (e.g. text messages, and survey data). His primary goal in this research project is to help the researchers to analyze all the raw data generated and to achieve success in helping Latino Limited English Proficient parents to navigate to the health system.


Doris Valenzuela, medical student, OHSU

Doris Valenzuela was the inaugural Centro SOL research scholar in 2015- 2016. Doris was born in Los Mochis, Mexico and moved to Portland, OR with her family at the age of eight. She later moved to Baltimore to complete her undergraduate studies at Hopkins where she majored in neuroscience. Hoping to work with immigrant families who shared a story similar to hers, Doris began working with Dr. Lisa DeCamp during her sophomore year on projects aimed at improving healthcare quality and access for Latino children. Her work with Dr. DeCamp helped foster her desire to attend medical school.

Upon graduation, Doris joined Centro SOL full time and primarily focused her time as a project manager for Salud al Día, a pilot study looking at ways to improve healthcare navigation by Latino families with limited English proficiency, and the Latino Family Advisory Board. The time Doris spent working with the Latino community in Baltimore helped to shape her future career goals. Doris is now a first year medical student at Oregon Health & Sciences University and hopes to pursue a career in pediatrics in order to help improve quality of care for Latino children.


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