Health Disparities


Sonya Borrero, MD, MS

Associate Director, VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion

Dr. Borrero’s work strives to advance reproductive health equity. Her research has focused on understanding multilevel influences on contraceptive and pregnancy decision making in marginalized populations in order to identify targets for social, clinical, and policy interventions that will decrease people’s risk for undesired pregnancy and that will augment reproductive autonomy.

Esa M. Davis, MD, MPH, FAAFP

Dr. Davis is an NIH-funded clinical researcher with a patient-oriented research program focused on obesity-related maternal and child health outcomes and in comparative effectiveness research in obesity and tobacco. Much of her work has focused on investigating the perinatal, cultural, and behavioral factors associated with the racial and socioeconomic disparities in obesity among women.

Utibe R. Essien, MD, MPH

Dr. Essien’s research explores racial/ethnic health disparities, with a specific focus on the use of novel therapeutics and technologies in the management of chronic diseases. His research has involved applying innovative methods to study whether racial/ethnic differences exist in the use of novel anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation, including after controlling for patient-level socioeconomic status factors, as well as the role of social determinants such as food insecurity and housing instability on patients with diabetes.

Michael J. Fine, MD, MSc

Director, VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion

Dr. Fine’s research focuses on ways to improve the quality and equity of medical care for patients with common medical problems. As Director of CHERP, he is particularly interested in conducting research to detect, understand, and eliminate disparities in health and health care among vulnerable patient populations.

Walid F. Gellad, MD, MPH

Director, Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing

Dr. Gellad's research focuses on physician prescribing practices and on policy issues affecting access and adherence to medications for patients. He has studied opioid use in the veteran population, specifically those receiving care from multiple health systems.

Leslie R. M. Hausmann, PhD

Dr. Hausmann is a social psychologist who conducts multidisciplinary research and quality improvement projects focused on identifying, understanding, and reducing disparities in health and health care for vulnerable patient populations. While much of her work has focused on issues of discrimination and bias in the healthcare setting, she also has extensive experience leading large-scale, multisite, mixed methods evaluations of the longitudinal impact of efforts to improve quality of care overall or for specific vulnerable groups.

Tamar Krishnamurti, PhD

Dr. Krishnamurti’s research interests include risk perception and communication, medical decision making, mHealth, and the design of effective communications, decision aids, and interventions for both domestic and international populations. She is particularly interested in research that focuses on vulnerable and high-risk social groups.

Jessica S. Merlin, MD, PhD, MBA

Director, Challenges in Managing and Preventing Pain Clinical Research Center

Dr. Merlin's research focuses on chronic pain in people living with HIV (PLWH), and more generally, individuals with comorbid mental illness and addiction. Her studies range from pathogenesis to clinical epidemiology to behavioral interventions.

Ann-Marie Rosland, MD, MS

Director, Caring for Complex Chronic Conditions Research Center

Dr. Rosland leads health care research and initiatives aiming to improve health care and self-management support for diabetes and other chronic conditions, and mobilize the power of patients’ social networks to improve health, among other areas. With a primary focus on innovations in care for chronic health conditions, she also studies health system efforts to improve primary care delivery.

Galen Switzer, PhD

Dr. Switzer is a leading expert in the motives and experiences of individuals who join an adult stem cell donation registry and volunteer to donate to a stranger. He has investigated all facets of the donation experience from the donor perspective. For more than 20 years, he has developed and evaluated clinical and psychosocial research measures and compiled validated measures for research projects across multiple contexts.

J. Deanna Wilson, MD, MPH

Dr. Wilson's research interests include reducing substance use-related health disparities with an emphasis on opioid use disorders in adolescent and adult populations. Her work includes integrating harm reduction into primary care settings, developing low threshold models of care to improve engagement and retention of vulnerable populations, and improving resilience and coping using mindfulness as a strategy to mitigate chronic pain.