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Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research

Our Mission

Within the Department of Radiation Medicine & Applied Sciences the Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research (CHEER) strives to facilitate transformative research and foster an educational environment aimed at improving cancer health equity among underrepresented cancer patients in our local community.


CHEER Directors

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James Murphy, MD, MS

CHEER Co-Director

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Brent Rose, MD

CHEER Co-Director

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Matthew Banegas, PhD

CHEER Co-Director



CHEER Team Members

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Kripa Guram, MD

Kripa is a radiation oncology resident physician in the Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences at UCSD.

Her research background includes basic and translational research related to cancer stem cells and cancer immunology. She is interested in studying the role of race and ethnicity in cancer characteristics, treatments, and outcomes, as well as understanding disparities in cancer health outcomes to promote health equity.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, doing various arts and crafts projects, and exploring the outdoors with her dog, Peanut.


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Liz Duran, MS

Liz is a research assistant. She investigates how social determinants of health impact access to care and health outcomes across the cancer care continuum. She received both a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in earth sciences from UCSD, along with a minor in global health. Her research interests include environmental epidemiology, environmental justice, climate change, cancer epidemiology and health equity. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, long walks on the beach (and elsewhere!) and being a full-time dog mom.


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Kylie Morgan, BS

Kylie is a research data analyst. Her work includes data development, statistical analysis, and programming. Kylie has a Bachelor of Science in cognitive science, with a specialization in machine learning and neural computations, from the UCSD. She is interested in investigating the intersection of technology and neuroscience, specifically in the domain of intelligence. Outside of work, she enjoys surfing, hiking, and volunteering at a community garden.


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Leah Deshler, MPH

Leah is a research data analyst. She recently received a Master of Public Health degree from the University of South Florida, where her education focused on epidemiology, global communicable disease, and applied biostatistics. Her research interests include infectious disease epidemiology and the One Health approach. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, painting, trying new restaurants, and chasing the next sunset.


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Xinyi Huang, BS

Xinyi is a research assistant. She is a graduate student in Biostatistics and received a Bachelor of Science in statistics at UCSD. She designs and performs statistical analyses for numerous cancer research studies. Her primary research interests lie in the areas of semi-parametric theory, survey methodology, survival analysis and longitudinal data analysis. In her spare time, she loves cooking, biking, bird watching and working out.



Featured Research Projects

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Clinical outcomes in African American men with prostate cancer. This retrospective cohort study of 8726 men with low  - risk prostate cancer found that African American men who underwent active surveillance suffered an increased risk of disease progression and definitive treatment compared with non  - Hispanic White men, but did not experience increased mortality. Published in JAMA.

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Pay‐for‐performance reimbursement. This nationwide research project found that hospitals caring for uninsured or underinsured individuals could potentially receive lower reimbursement under current pay  - for  - performance reimbursement models. This could potentially increase health disparities among at  - risk patients with cancer. Published in Cancer.

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Clinic - based Intervention for Financial Hardship CAFÉ. This ongoing NIH funded project assesses a clinic  - based intervention to address financial hardship for people with cancer using a randomized, stepped wedge trial designed to test the novel Cancer Financial Experience (CAFÉ) intervention. This study represents one of the first trials of an intervention focused on mitigating financial hardship specific to cancer patients.


Featured Research Education Initiatives

OPTIMUS program. The Outreach Program To Inspire Minority and Underrepresented Students ( OPTIMUS ) represents a summer cancer research fellowship for underrepresented high school students in San Diego. Students accepted into the program will work in cancer research labs, shadow physicians in clinic, and participate in community outreach efforts. Overall, the OPTIMUS program strives to help position our young students to become future leaders in clinical cancer care and cancer research.

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Contact

Email us at CHEER@health.ucsd.edu.