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iTHRIV Launches New Series to Amplify Underrepresented Voices in Health Research


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded Integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV) is pleased to announce a new educational offering called the Voices in Clinical and Translational Science. This speaker series is designed to serve as a platform and lift underrepresented voices in research across the iTHRIV partnership. Sandra Burks, iTHRIV’s Administrative Program Director states, “experience teaches us that diversity of thought, diversity of background, and diversity of perspectives makes team science richer and stronger. This new series seeks to highlight excellence in clinical translational research and understand different lived experiences.”


The Voices in Clinical and Translational Science series will focus on promoting dialogue and encouraging team science. “We hope that researchers will be excited to hear from colleagues across iTHRIV who may have backgrounds different from their own, and also find new potential collaborators who share common goals in their research” adds Burks.


The quarterly seminar series is designed to amplify diverse perspectives in clinical and translational research, and in doing so, foster innovation and an inclusive environment. Burks notes that “the goal really is to learn from one another about the impact of different lived experiences on the work that people do. The presenters will share their science and also their lived experience as an underrepresented person in research.” The speaker series is aimed at translational health research professionals at all stages of their career.

iTHRIV hopes that attendees will use this series as an opportunity to listen more deeply to one another and to broaden their own research in the quest to improve the health of communities in Virginia and beyond. Burks notes that “iTHRIV is grateful to our presenters for their willingness to share their work and lived experience as an underrepresented clinical translational researcher.” She is hopeful that “through this sharing of experiences and listening to one another, we can promote greater dialogue and understanding across our research community as we work together to address the important health problems in Virginia.”

Speakers and Registration

The 2022 Series has concluded. Thank you to all who attended, listened, and learned!

The 2023 Series will be posted soon, so be sure to check back!

Recordings of Previous Seminars

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March 22nd, 2022 - Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Heart Failure: The State of the Road Towards Equitable Care - Dr. Sula Mazimba received his medical degree from the University of Zambia School of Medicine and his Masters of Public Health degree from Wright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine. He completed his medical residency at the Kettering Medical Center/Wright State University; cardiology fellowship at the Kettering Medical Center/Dayton Veteran Affairs Center; and Advanced Heart Failure, heart transplant and pulmonary vascular disease fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to his heart failure fellowship, he had served as clinical faculty in Cardiology at University of Alabama at Birmingham.


May 17th, 2022The Gatekeepers to Heart Transplant: Who Are We Keeping Out? - Dr. Ibrahim served as faculty at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School before coming to Inova Heart and Vascular Institute where she is the Associate Program Director of the cardiology fellowship program. Dr. Ibrahim has published in top-tier journals, is a new book author, and is an associate editor for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure. Her research interests include biomarkers, improving adherence to guideline-directed therapies in heart failure patients, understanding mechanisms of disparities in the care of underserved populations, and improving access to heart transplant in historically excluded and systemically oppressed patient populations. Dr. Ibrahim was recently invited by the White House Office of Public Engagement to participate in a Health Equity Leaders Roundtable Series focused on access to care. 

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June 7, 2022 - Poverty, Justice and Surgery: The Medical neglect of the Global South - Dr. Moustafa Moustafa is currently a chief resident in general surgery at the University of Virginia and a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine in 2015. He was the 2019 fellow in global surgery through the University of Utah Center for Global Surgery. His interests include global surgery and humanitarianism. He is a founder of a US college-based medical supply recycling organization, United to Heal, and the Savannah Water Project, a Ghana-based NGO focused on well building in the northern savannah. 


July 19, 2022 - Milk Made: How Strong Women and a Rural Childhood Shaped My Research - Brittany Howell, Ph.D., blends biological and behavioral analysis to capture a wide range of factors implicated in healthy human brain development. Her laboratory analyzes and compares breast milk composition, feeding habits, stress levels, fecal microbiology, social behavior, and brain imaging data. She studies gut-brain-behavior axis development, and the biological pathways of early experience and maternal influence on infant neurodevelopment. Dr. Howell is also an iTHRIV Scholar.


October 25, 2022 - Sprints and Marathons: The Realities of Clinical Research - Dr. Azziza "Kemi" Bankole is a professor of Psychiatry at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM) and is the program director of the VTCSOM Geriatric Psychiatry fellowship program. Her research interests include schizophrenia in later life, dementia related agitation, and the use of sensor technology in older adults. Dr. Bankole is a co-principal investigator on the Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention for Dementia Caregiver Empowerment study funded by the National Science Foundation in partnership with systems engineers at North Carolina Agriculture and Technology State University and computer engineers at University of Virginia. She is currently working with researchers at Virginia Tech to establish interdisciplinary research collaborative platforms for researchers across departments and colleges within the university. 

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