Antwi Akom PhD, MA

Antwi Akom Ph.D. is an health technologist and Founding Director of the Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity lab — a joint research lab between the University of California, San Francisco, and San Francisco State University (http://soullab.co/) and faculty affiliate with UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP).  At CVP Dr. Akom researches and deploys new health information communication technologies, big data, and data analytics approaches to eliminate racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, reduce the gap between clinical and social determinants of health, and promote equitable health outcomes with vulnerable populations.  Dr. Akom is the co-founder/CEO of Streetwyze, named by President Obama as one of the top community-driven/patient centered platforms in the world, and has been recognized by the Rockefeller Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kresge, California Endowment, PolicyLink, Atlantic's Citylab, The Root and other award winning publications. His most recent TEDx Talk is called Innovation Out of Poverty  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvrLFgikLZQ



Ifeyinwa V. Asiodu PhD, RN, IBCLC

As a researcher, registered nurse, and lactation consultant, I am extremely passionate about improving breastfeeding rates in Black communities. My research is centered on the intersection of race, gender, family dynamics, life course, and breastfeeding. The long-term goal of my program of research is to reduce infant feeding disparities, increase workforce diversity in the fields of breastfeeding and lactation and develop culturally-informed breastfeeding interventions to improve infant feeding education and breastfeeding initiation and duration. My career goals include cultivating a program of research aimed at improving health equity and well-being among Black women and birthing people, infants and families and to become a leading NIH-funded lactation researcher and maternal and child health advocate.




Brittany D. Chambers PhD, MPH 

Dr. Chambers obtained her MPH in Health Promotion from Fresno State University and a PhD in Community Health Education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her work focuses on understanding sexual and reproductive health inequities through examining the impact of individual and structural discrimination across multiple life domains. As a fellow, she worked with the Saving Our Ladies from Early Births and Reducing Stress (SOLARS) study team to examine mediating relationships between interpersonal racism and adverse birth outcomes experienced by Black women in Oakland. For her fellowship project, Dr. Chambers conducted a qualitative study to develop novel measures of structural racism from the perspective of Black and Latina women residing in Oakland and Fresno, California. Dr. Chambers is an assistant professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis.


Linda Franck RN, PhD, FAAN

Dr. Franck is a Professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing at the UCSF School of Nursing and holds the Jack and Elaine Koehn Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nursing. She has extensive clinical and research experience in maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health care. Her current work focuses on improving patient and family partnered healthcare delivery and research.






Andrea Jackson, MD, MAS

Is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine with subspecialty training in Family Planning. She currently serves as the interim Chief for the Obstetrics, Gynecology and Gynecologic Subspecialties Division. Her clinical and research focus is on dismantling of racial/ethnic disparities in reproductive health through diversifying the healthcare workforce and education of medical students, residents and practicing physicians on how systemic racism contributes to healthcare inequality. She is co-Director of EMBRACE group prenatal care for Black Families and the UCSF Initiative for Black Women’s Health and Livelihood.




Kia Skrine Jeffers, PhD, RN, PHN

In the United States, older African Americans have some of the highest rates of cardiometabolic diseases (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, obesity) and their related complications compared to most racial/ethnic subgroups. Researchers have identified social and structural determinants of health that help explain these cardiometabolic disease disparities. Disentangling and disrupting the complex relationship between structural barriers (e.g., laws, policies, institutionalized racism) and the cardiometabolic health of African Americans using traditional and non-traditional scientific approaches is a central theme in my research program. This includes investigating the historical, intergenerational, and contemporary experiences African American older adults have had that contribute to their excess rates of preventable disease and premature death relative to their non-Black counterparts. In my research, I aim to: 1) identify ways structural barriers (e.g., structural racism) contribute to cardiometabolic health disparities among African Americans and ways to intervene on a structural level; 2) develop community-partnered interventions that protect against structural barriers and support health equity and social justice among African Americans and other marginalized populations; and, 3) use innovative approaches for health interventions and research dissemination, including theatre and media.   


Monica R. McLemore PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN 


My program of research is focused on understanding the factors that influence the health, wellbeing and livelihood of low-income and women of color who I am fortunate enough to serve clinically at Zuckerberg San Francisco General. Using the intersectional human rights middle range theory called reproductive Justice (RJ), enables me to design rigorous studies that answer novel and complex research questions because RJ is simultaneously a theory, practice and a strategy that is grounded in four principles. Simply put, RJ posits that every person has the right to decide if and when to become pregnant and to determine the conditions under which they will birth. Next, every person has the right to decide they will not become pregnant or have a baby and options for preventing or ending pregnancy are accessible and available. Third, individuals have the right parent children they already have with dignity and has the necessary social supports in safe environments and health communities without fear of violence from individuals or the government. Finally, individuals have the right to disassociate sex from reproduction and that health sexuality and pleasure are essential components to whole and full human life. 


Karen A. Scott MD, MPH, FACOG

Dr. Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH, FACOG, is the founding CEO and Owner for the Birth Cultural Rigor, LLC. She is a disruptive epidemiologist and OB hospitalist whose research designs, methods, and measures interrogate health services provision in antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum units as sites through which racism (structural, gendered, and obstetric) is enacted and imposed upon Black bodies and lives.  Through the praxes of Cultural Rigor, Reproductive Justice, and Black feminism, her work integrates the social sciences and medical humanities into quantitative population health research and participatory quality improvement research.  As the PI of the SACRED Birth study, she and her team will validate a novel scale to capture patient reported experiences of obstetric racism within patient-clinician, patient-system, and community-system interactions, across time, place, and levels of power, in the afterlife of slavery, throughout clinical cognitive processes and diagnostic and therapeutic decision making.




Aekta Shah PhD

Aekta Shah is a Data Science, Health Tech, and Human-Centered Design Specialist, and Post-Doctoral Researcher at the UCSF/SFSU Social Innovation and Digital Research Lab (www.soullab.co).  Her core research areas are: Reproductive Justice; Innovating for Racial and Health Equity; and using the power of technology to bridge the social, structural, and clinical determinants of health.  She is the co-founder of the participatory mHealth tool Streetwyze.

Dr. Shah’s background and training in GIS, social and spatial epidemiology, social/structural determinants, health services research, big data, and CPBR are aimed at helping BIPOC women/birthing people have the resources, tools, and freedom to transform reproductive policy and achieve reproductive justice goals.  Aekta recently completed her Ph.D. at Stanford University and has been recognized for her leadership by President Obama, Knight Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Atlantic CityLab, The Root, Aspen Institute, and the UN. Aekta holds Masters from Harvard and a B.A. from Dartmouth College.


Judy Young, MPH

Judy has over 30 years of experience in women’s health in both academic institutions and community organizations. She has directed peer health educators, conducted national community outreach and trainings, and led women’s health programs. Judy has taught sexuality, women’s health and HIV/AIDS at several Bay Area universities including U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco and San Jose State Universities. She has chaired the board of directors for two non-profit organizations: Planned Parenthood Golden Gate and Rafiki Coalition (formerly the Black Coalition on AIDS). In addition Judy has served as an active member on the boards of Planned Parenthood Shasta-Diablo and Sistahs Steppin’ in Pride.