Meet the Team
Utibe R. Essien
Utibe Essien is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and a health disparities researcher in the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion. He additionally serves as the director of the Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity Program for Medical Students (CEED II) at Pitt. Dr. Essien completed Primary Care residency and General Internal Medicine fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Essien’s research focuses on developing interventions to advance equity in the management of cardiovascular diseases.
Naomi F. Fields is a proud Miami, FL native who studied chemistry, Africana studies, public health, and dance at Williams College. After working as a research assistant and dancer in Boston, she matriculated at the Perelman School of Medicine, where she has focused on support of underrepresented medical trainees, mentoring, and qualitative research regarding young women’s sexual health. Naomi plans to become an obstetrician-gynecologist and policy advocate for women’s health and reproductive justice. In her free time, you can find her going for runs, cooking seafood mac & cheese, and Facetiming loved ones.
Rohan Khazanchi grew up in Omaha, NE and spent his undergraduate years studying neurobiology and music at Washington University in St. Louis. He is currently a fourth-year M.D./M.P.H. student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Minnesota School of Public Health. His research and advocacy work have focused heavily on health equity, including projects on neighborhood deprivation & HIV disparities, social & structural vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic, and structural competency in medical education. Beyond his academic interests, Rohan is an avid musician, an ice cream connoisseur, and loves exploring new restaurants and hiking trails with his family and friends.
LaShyra “Lash” Nolen
LaShyra “Lash” Nolen is a Los Angeles native deeply passionate about the concerns of underserved and marginalized communities. Currently, she is a medical student at Harvard Medical School where she is serving as the university’s student council president, the first documented black woman to hold this leadership position. She is a published author and fervent advocate for social justice with plans to pursue a Masters in Public Policy along with her medical degree to advocate for humane healthcare reform as a physician activist. In her free time she enjoys rapping, eating good food, and creating new memories with the people she loves.
Michelle Ogunwole is an internist and general internal medicine research fellow at Johns Hopkins. Her research focuses on clinical, policy and community based approaches to improving maternal health equity. Michelle was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and enjoys playing basketball and competitive games of Uno with her family.
Dereck Paul is a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and applying into residency this fall. He studies the relationships between homelessness and health under Dr. Margot Kushel at the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations. He was a 2018 Student National Medical Association David E. Satcher MD, PhD Health Disparities Research Fellow for his work mapping the role of structural racism in susceptibility to housing insecurity and homelessness. Outside of his studies and research, he writes about health policy, medical education, and the underrepresented medical trainee experience.