Women in Leadership Panel Event-Virtual Event

Wednesday, October 12th from 11am – 12pm PST

Join the UCSF Talent Acquisition Women in Leadership team for an engaging conversation At The Table.


The panelists will discuss topics such as imposter syndrome, being resourceful and resilient, overcoming biases, embracing vulnerability, and what it feels like to be a leader in an elite environment that encourages you to bring your best most authentic self to the role.

Join us for this inspirational discussion led by Jessica Blair-Dressler, Associate Director, Talent Acquisition Campus and Health.


  • Empowerment
  • Pursuit of your Dreams
  • Obstacles that transform into Opportunities for Excellence


Panel speakers include:

Judie Boehmer, Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer

Nancy DuranteauDirector & Chief Learning Officer

Lourdes MoldrePatient Care Director

Alleysha MullenLeadership & Development Consultant

Gita PatelDirector for Surgical Specialties

Jane WongVice President of IT


Dr Tung T. Nguyen Named Inaugural Associate Vice Chancellor for Research – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism

Dear UCSF Community:

After a competitive search process, we are thrilled to announce that Tung Nguyen, MD, has accepted the role of associate vice chancellor for Research – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism (AVC Research – IDEA). The role of the AVC Research – IDEA is to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded throughout the UCSF research enterprise through policies, practices, and value alignment toward developing a research environment that proactively addresses racism and all aspects of inequity and discrimination. This is an exciting new role that will be a member of the UCSF Office of Research leadership team.

Dr. Nguyen will guide UCSF’s research enterprise in defining its priorities according to these tenets of our university. Reporting to the vice chancellor for Research, with a dotted line to the vice chancellor of the Office of Diversity and Outreach, he also will work closely with the research deans in the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy as well as the Graduate Division to build on the 2021 recommendations made by the Office of Research Task Force on Equity and Anti-Racism in Research.

A longstanding member of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Community Engagement and Health Policy core, Dr. Nguyen joined CTSI leadership in 2021 as director of the Research Action Group for Equity (RAGE), which aims to increase the participation of racial and ethnic minorities in health research. Dr. Nguyen also serves as a principal investigator of SF BUILD, an NIH-funded partnership between UCSF and San Francisco State University to promote health research workforce diversity. Additionally, he serves as associate director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. In his new role, Dr. Nguyen will also serve as one of three principal investigators for the Clinical and Translational Science Award that supports CTSI.

Dr. Nguyen came to the United States at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, as a 10-year-old refugee who did not speak English. He grew up in San Jose, CA, received his BA in Philosophy from Harvard University and MD from Stanford University, and completed his primary care medicine residency at UCSF.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Nguyen on this inaugural appointment! We are confident that his leadership in this important role will further align UCSF’s research enterprise with its institutional values and commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism.


Harold R. Collard, MD, MS
Professor of Medicine and Health Policy
Vice Chancellor, Research

J. Renee Navarro, PharmD, MD
Vice Chancellor – Office of Diversity and Outreach
Chief Diversity Officer
Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care

Alumna’s research shines light on excessive lead levels in city neighborhoods

SF State alumna Chinomnso Okorie is using community-engaged research to fight health disparities in her hometown

The 2019 film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” opens with a young Black girl happily skipping up to a man in a hazmat suit picking up garbage in the Bayview neighborhood. The image is more than just striking, says biomedical scientist Chinomnso Okorie (B.S., ’17; M.A., ’19), who was born in San Francisco and raised in Bayview. For her, it’s deeply meaningful.

Okorie is first author of a new paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health that investigates the relationship between environmental exposure to lead and preterm birth. Just like the movie scene, her paper highlights the very real social and health disparities experienced by Black communities in San Francisco.

“I think that movie really encompasses the purpose of this paper,” Okorie explained, noting that the film was released as she was graduating from San Francisco State University.

Before the government began to regulate lead content in the late 1980s, many cities like San Francisco used lead in gas, paint and water pipes. Some of these pipes are still present today, with federal Superfund sites devoted to cleaning contaminated areas often located near low-income areas like Bayview-Hunters Point. Low-income and minority communities also experience more preterm births, with African American/Black mothers nearly three times more likely to have premature infants compared with white mothers.

These trends didn’t sit right with Okorie, an SF Build scholar in Professor of Biology Leticia Márquez-Magaña’s lab at the time. But Okorie knew that to effectively study these problems, she’d have to account for — and challenge — health disparities and inequities.

“Because of the past, what we’ve done as scientists [to people of color] cannot be undone. It’s written in history. We made a mistake and we have to gain people’s trust again,” Okorie said.

Keeping that troubling history in mind, Okorie was thoughtful and collaborative with her study design, emphasizing open communication with community members and noninvasive approaches for sample collection. This led her to some surprising partners: hair salons and barbershops. These are safe spaces for many communities, she explained. Hair was a good conduit because it’s a less invasive source and stores metals like lead. However, hair is deeply personal and meaningful for many people, so transparency was important.

“We were trying to create a safe space where we talked about what was going on in our community,” she said. “The dialogue, the back and forth before we even got to collecting the samples, [is critical]. Because ultimately, we were doing the science for them.”

Seventy-two randomly selected hair salons and barbershops across 19 racially diverse San Francisco zip codes donated 109 hair samples to Okorie’s study. She found lead in every sample, with the highest exposure found in southeast San Francisco, a region that includes Bayview. These same areas have large African American/Black populations and high preterm birth rates.

The findings were not necessarily surprising to Okorie or to others in the community.

“I heard a lot of stories, a lot of people that knew somebody who experienced preterm birth, or who was a premie, and you start to see them pile up,” she explained.

These findings highlight the need for more translational research with community engagement to begin to tackle health disparities. Developing and using less- or noninvasive approaches for sample collection is important because it could help improve community participation. Though Okorie focused on lead exposure, there are other stressors that can compromise health, such as lack of food and water and housing insecurity.

Okorie is now several years out of school, working as a data scientist at the University of San Francisco, but the work she started at San Francisco State is still not done. She has larger goals of understanding how lead affects the placenta during pregnancy and examining genetic-level changes. Outside of the lab, Okorie is involved in several community projects. One of her favorites is the pregnancy popup in Bayview that provides women with services related to pregnancy and family. Another is serving the Bayview community through Umoja Health, providing free COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

Her research, her career trajectory, her Bayview community, even the chance timing of “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” — they are all connected, Okorie says. After graduating, she has also reflected a lot about how to take care of herself as a Black woman.

“It’s funny because I’m here stressing about how other people in my community are stressed and at risk for chronic diseases and again, it’s just another added stressor,” she says. “We need to unlearn this learned behavior.”

Read more at SF State News.