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Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS

Associate Dean for Health Equity Research and C.N.H. Long Professor of Internal Medicine (General Medicine), of Epidemiology (Chronic Disease) and of Public Health (Social And Behavioral Sciences) & Professor of Internal Medicine (General Medicine); Associate Dean, Health Equity Research; Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health; Founding Director, Equity Research and Innovation Center (ERIC), Yale School of Medicine; Director, Center for Research Engagement (CRE); Director, Center for Community Engagement and Health Equity; Deputy Director for Health Equity Research and Workforce Development, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI); Director, Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Health Equity Leadership

Growing up in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, a health professional shortage area, Marcella Nuñez-Smith, MD, MHS, remembers stories of loved ones and members of her community who struggled with their health or died prematurely. That experience led her to pursue a career in medicine and conduct research that focuses on vulnerable populations and their interactions with healthcare systems.

Ever since her arrival at Yale as a fellow in what is now the National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP), Dr. Nuñez-Smith has been on a mission to address health and healthcare inequities wherever they are found. As a 2006 YCCI Scholar, she gathered data for what is now known as PreDict (Patient-Reported Experiences of Discrimination in Care). PreDict is a tool that assesses the patient care experience and hospital performance with the goal of improving the quality of care.

Dr. Nuñez-Smith went on to develop the Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN), a collaborative multi-million dollar research study funded by the National Institute for Minority Health Disparities (NIMHD). ECHORN examines the risk factors and prevalence of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease in the Eastern Caribbean.

Both ECHORN and PreDict are now incorporated into the Equity Research and Innovation Center (ERIC), for which Dr. Nuñez-Smith is director. ERIC builds on the experience of Dr. Nuñez-Smith and 60 team members involved in research to narrow health and healthcare inequities, as well as disparities in the healthcare workforce and medical education.

Dr. Nuñez-Smith serves as academic advisor to Yale School of Medicine students. She also continues her involvement with the NCSP as a core faculty member of the Scholars Program and co-director of Community Research Initiatives.