About Us



Item Term
Toi Harris, M.D., COE Principal Investigator/Program Director

Item Definition

Dr. Harris is associate provost of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity and Student Services and professor of psychiatry, pediatrics and family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. As principal investigator, Dr. Harris will provide overall leadership, direction and supervision of the COE to ensure successful implementation of the program.


Item Term
Hamisu Salihu, M.D., Ph.D., COE Center Director

Item Definition

Dr. Salihu, vice-chair for research in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Baylor, will oversee and coordinate with all associate directors and their division teams to map out effective strategies and plans for the successful implementation of core functions and responsibilities of the center in line with the seven legislative purposes of the grant. Dr. Salihu will supervise the day-to-day management and administration of the activities, tasks and obligations of the center and report to the principal investigator/program director on a regular basis.


Item Term
Jennifer Christner, M.D., COE Advisory Council Chair

Item Definition

Dr. Christner is dean of the School of Medicine at Baylor and board-certified pediatrician. She will chair the COE Advisory Council, which will offer a structure for engagement of community stakeholders as well as institutional partners. The Advisory Council will provide invaluable suggestions and connections with community resources and social capital to advance the mission of the COE.


Item Term
Roger Zoorob, M.D., MPH, FAAFP, COE Associate Director for Research

Item Definition

Dr. Zoorob is chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He will lead the mission of our COE relative to mentored research, development and dissemination of new education and research tools as well as center-wide evaluation efforts to assess the effectiveness of ongoing activities in attaining stated aims and objectives.


Item Term
Nancy Moreno, Ph.D., COE Associate Director for Education and Professional Development

Item Definition

Dr. Moreno is associate provost of Faculty Development and Institutional Research at Baylor and senior associate director of the Center for Educational Outreach. On this grant, Dr. Moreno will dedicate efforts and resources to elevate underrepresented minority student academic performance, and to promote the recruitment, training, mentoring and retention of URM faculty.


Item Term
Jean Raphael, M.D., MPH, COE Associate Director for Health Equity

Item Definition

Dr. Raphael is associate vice chair for Community Health and board certified general pediatrician and health services researcher who has developed a research program focused on improving health outcomes among minority and underserved children. Dr. Raphael will supervise the training of URM scholars on health disparity issues including acquisition of cultural and linguistic competence as it relates to minority health issues.


Item Term
Jason Salemi, Ph.D., MPH, COE Evaluator and Trainer

Item Definition

Dr. Salemi is associate professor of family and community medicine and Director of Analytics for the department’s Center for Prevention, Primary Care, and Population Health Research. Dr. Salemi is responsible for the creation of a structured environment that optimizes mentored research and acquisition and application of research methods skills by trainees, particularly clinical fellows and junior faculty. Dr. Salemi also serves as evaluator for the program, which includes overseeing a comprehensive and integrated assessment plan and developing effective metrics to measure implementation and success for all center projects and administrative units.


Item Term
Deepa Dongarwar, COE Sr. Programmer Analyst

Item Definition

Deepa Dongarwar is the Sr. Programmer Analyst for the Center of Excellence in Health Equity, Training and Research. She will assist with analysis using big data to produce, interpret and write results for dissemination. She will also assist with intense training of physicians and medical students in research methods and application of computer analytics in healthcare research. An important responsibility for the position is helping COE scholars with the creation and validation of data collection instruments, database construction, and management processes. Deepa will also assist with maintenance of the COE website.


Item Term
Erik Malmberg, Ph.D., J.D., COE Project Manager

Item Definition

Dr. Malmberg is manager of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity at Baylor and will perform duties related to data tracking for student applications, interviews, admissions, retention and graduation through the Office of the Provost and related departments. He will also access, retrieve and process information on faculty recruitment, retention and promotion and prepare scheduled reports for submission to the funding agency (HRSA).


Council Charge


The charge of the Advisory Council is to support the work of the center by

  • Engaging institutional partners and community stakeholders
  • Assisting the COE accomplish the mission of meeting unmet needs of URM students, fellows and faculty
  • Offering suggestions and recommendations on COE’s program policies, strategies, activities/services
  • Providing valuable connections with community resources and social capital to advance the mission of the COE
  • Meeting at least quarterly.

Members of the Council

Media Component
Group photo of the members of the Advisory Council for the Center of Excellence in Health Equity, Training and Research

Jennifer Christner, M.D., Dean, School of Medicine (Chair)
Anne Gill, Dr.P.H., M.S., R.N., Assistant Dean, Interprofessional Education, School of Medicine
Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine
Joseph Kass, M.D., JD, Associate Dean, School of Medicine
Cleveland O. Lane, Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biology, Prairie View A & M University
Omonike Olaleye, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pharmacology, Texas Southern University
Frederick Pereira, Ph.D., Program Director, Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Student Development, Co-Director, Clinical Scientist Training Program
Laura Petersen, M..D, MPH, MEDVAMC Associate Chief of Staff, Research; Director IQuESt
James L. Phillips, M.D., Sr. Associate Dean, Diversity and Community Outreach, Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
Antonie Rice, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine
Jesus Vallejo, M.D., Assistant Dean for Admissions, Co-Director, Clinical Scientist Training Program