“When research and policy is led by those from communities who bear the greatest burden of disease, then we will see the end to inequities and disparities.”
Rena J. Pasick DrPH ’85, MPH ’80 is a professor at UCSF School of Medicine and Director of the Office of Community Engagement at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. She has spent the past 30 years conducting research on cancer disparities in the diverse and underserved communities of the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the founder and director of a 20-year old NIH-funded diversity training program that has encouraged over 200 URM master’s students in public health to go on to the doctorate.
Secrets for succes
From the time I was a student, I have been continually awed by the genius and passion of the people who work in this field. More than anything else, I feel continuous gratitude to be among my colleagues and students for their generous spirit, the joy they bring to their work, and their earth-moving progressiveness.
A change to one U.S. policy that would transform public health
My first choice has to be single-payer health care. But after that, I would add legislation that funds standing national programs for underrepresented students in public health and the social/behavioral sciences: bridges to the Baccalaureate, bridges to the Doctorate, bridges to wherever they want to go! Just like those in the basic sciences…because diversity in the community is as important or more so than diversity in the lab. When research and policy is led by those from communities who bear the greatest burden of disease, then we will see the end to inequities and disparities.