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Tell me a bit about your background.
I am a community psychiatrist whose research program focuses on improving diabetes screening and HIV care for people with severe mental illness, particularly among underserved minority populations. I am the only psychiatrist who is core faculty at the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at ZSFG. I view people with severe mental illness to be a health disparity population and try to use data to identify gaps in care and then develop interventions to create a more equitable environment.
In addition to my research, I serve as the Director and Co-Founder of the UCSF Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Zuckerberg San Francisco General. This was the first public psychiatry fellowship in the state of California, and the only one nationally to have a formal mental health services research component.
October is Diversity Month! Tell me about your work as a John A. Watson Faculty Scholar, and your goals for the future of your work.
One of my main interests is in retaining women in academic medicine and helping them to thrive in academia and reach top leadership roles. I believe that retaining women during childbearing years is central to gender parity, as even short workforce interruptions can have long-term consequences—and may partially explain the gender wage gap. In February 2018, together with six colleagues, we published a research letter in JAMA, examining variations in childbearing and family leave policies at top US medical schools. The piece added to the substantial work done by so many others before me and helped tip the scale and encourage UCSF leadership to create a 12-week paid faculty leave policy for childbearing.
In the future, I want to continue to focus on structural policies to create a more equitable workforce environment for all members of our community.
How do you and your team exemplify UCSF’s PRIDE values?
We are always thinking about ways we can build community, whether it’s recruiting more women, measuring distribution of endowed chairs to ensure equity, or creating structures to support equity and inclusion.
What is your hope for the future of diversity, equity and inclusion at UCSF, and what is your personal commitment to advancing this cause?
The fact that we have many people thinking deeply about these issues is great. My Watson Scholars class really gelled and it would behoove UCSF to continue facilitating that cohesion. Also, having men as allies makes a huge difference for gender equity. Leaders like Talmadge, Dan Lowenstein, and Brian Alldredge speaking up to say there is still a lot of work left to be done is encouraging and keeps everyone focused.
I am committed to mentoring other women of color, recognizing that I am where I am because others have helped me get here.
What are some resources students, faculty, and staff can take advantage of to learn more about DEI efforts at UCSF and/or become allies?
I have an open door for my own diversity committee in the Department of Psychiatry, and I try to leverage each member’s individual strengths. I also know that small actions add up and make a difference. Everyone can help to move the needle forward through everyday actions, including being an ally.
Thank you, Christina!
- interviewed by Lesley Snyder