Our research team shares a vision of eliminating racial health inequities in the hospital setting. We developed a research protocol to help us explore if quality care and emotional support is being distributed equally among all our infants and families in the NICU. Based on the current scientific literature we are expecting to identify racial disparities in our care. With this in mind, we are hoping to use parent and staff surveys and interviews to help us understand how we can deliver more equitable care. By the conclusion of this study we are hoping to identify concrete implications for change that are in line with UCSF's True North standards of creating an excepitonal patient experience and improving patient outcomes.

Our Study Team

Olga Smith RN CCRN MS
Olga Smith is a nurse in the Critical Care Float Pool who provides direct patient care in the Intensive Care Nursery, Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco. She is a recent graduate from the UCSF School of Nursing with her master’s in health policy. Her focus is on eliminating racial health inequities. She hopes to help undo the structural racism that has been foundational to poor outcomes for those who have been historically disenfranchised in the United States health care system.
Kayla Karvonen MD
Dr. Kayla Karvonen is a clinical fellow in the Division of Neonatology at UCSF. She grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota and attended college at Rice University in Houston, Texas where she majored in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and Psychology. She obtained her M.D. at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and completed her Pediatrics Residency at University of California San Francisco. During her residency she served as Pediatrics Diversity Committee President for 20182020 and cofounded the ICN Racial Equity Task Force. Her research to date has focused on investigating racial and ethnic disparities in neonatal outcomes and quality of neonatal care delivered. She is dedicated to exposing systemic racism in medicine and promoting antiracism and health equity at the bedside.
Brittany D. Chambers PHD MPH
Brittany Chambers is an assistant professor in the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the California Preterm Birth Initiative at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Chambers was also a K 12 Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) scholar with the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. Her work focuses on partnering with Black communities to understanding how interpersonal and structural racism impacts Black women's reproductive outcomes to inform policy- and community- and individual-level interventions to optimize the reproductive health and wellbeing of Black women and families.
Amber McZeal MA
Writer, vocalist, sacred scholar, and activist Amber McZeal utilizes sound therapy and guided somatic imagery to engage the knowledge of the body within and interactive and liberatory arts practice. Amber McZeal weaves together somatic practice with social justice and spirituality. Her approach centers imagination as foundational to movements to end oppression and create more humane social relationships. McZeal holds an MA degree in Somatic Depth Psychology and is currently a doctoral candidate at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Elizabeth Rogers MD
Dr. Elizabeth Rogers is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at University of California San Francisco, practices neonatology in the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN), and is the Director of the ROOTS Program, The Grove Small Baby Unit, and the research director of ICN Follow Up Program at UCSF. Her clinical expertise is in preterm birth, health equity, periviable birth and decisionmaking, neuroprotection, metabolic predictors of outcomes after preterm birth, developmental care, palliative care, family-centered care and advocacy, and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes after neonatal critical illness. She has led follow up efforts for multicenter trials involving preterm and term infants at risk for pulmonary and neurodevelopmental impairment as well as international cohorts, has peer-reviewed manuscripts and chapters focused on mortality and morbidity after neonatal critical illness,and serves on statewide and national quality improvement collaboratives. She received an AB in Slavic Languages and Literatures and History of Science at Harvard University and received her medical degree from Stanford University. She received pediatric and neonatal-perinatal subspecialty training at UCSF.
Monica R. McLemore PhD MPH RN
At the University of California, San Francisco, Monica McLemore is a tenured associate professor in the Family Health Care Nursing Department, an affiliated scientist with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, and a member of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. She retired from clinical practice as a public health and staff nurse after a 28-year clinical nursing career. Her program of research is focused on understanding reproductive health and justice. To date, she has 61 peer reviewed articles, OpEds and commentaries and her research has been cited in the Huffington Post, Lavender Health, three amicus briefs to the Supreme Court of the United States, and two National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine reports, and a data visualization project entitled How To Fix Maternal Mortality: The first step is to stop blaming women that was published in the 2019 Future of Medicine edition of Scientific American. Her work has appeared in publications such as Dame Magazine, Politico, ProPublica/NPR and she made a voice appearance in Terrance Nance’s HBO series Random Acts of Flyness. She is the recipient of numerous awards and currently serves as chair-elect for Sexual and Reproductive Health section of the American Public Health Association. She was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2019.