For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Initiative

Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Initiative In 2021, Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) and the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) received a 5-year $14.4 million NIH grant to focus on health disparities research on population health and intervention science in aging, chronic disease, and environmental determinants.

The NIH-funded Drexel FIRST (Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation) program aims to create sustainable institutional changes necessary to promote inclusive excellence for all and contribute to the science of health disparities that have an impact on individuals, communities, and populations.

Inclusive excellence refers to:

  • A culture that establishes and sustains scientific environments that cultivate and benefit from a full range of talents
  • The recruitment of a critical mass of diverse, early career researchers who are dedicated to understanding the drivers of health inequities

Diverse, early career researchers are faculty from groups identified as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences (described in NOT-OD-20-031) including but not limited to racial and ethnic minoritized populations, those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, individuals with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, and women.

Meet the inaugural cohort of FIRST faculty, who joined Drexel in September 2022:

FIRST Faculty at the Dornsife School of Public Health

  • Stephanie Hernandez headshot

    Stephanie Hernandez, PhD, MS

    Assistant Professor
    Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Drexel FIRST Program
    smh483@drexel.edu

    Research Interests:
    • Demography
    • Health Disparities
    • LGBT Health Disparities
    • Population Health
    • Minoritization
    • Intersectionality
    • Sexual and Gender Minority Health

  • Josiah Kephart headshot

    Josiah L. Kephart, PhD, MPH, CPH

    Assistant Professor
    Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel FIRST Program, Urban Health Collaborative
    jlk465@drexel.edu

    Research Interests:
    • Environmental Exposures
    • Urban Health
    • Health Disparities
    • Environmental and Social Epidemiology
    • Climate Change
    • Global Health

  • Jourdyn Lawrence headshot

    Jourdyn A. Lawrence, PhD, MSPH

    Assistant Professor
    Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Drexel FIRST Program
    jal538@drexel.edu

    Research Interests:
    • Structural and Interpersonal Racism
    • Racial/Ethnic Health Inequities
    • Social Epidemiology
    • Urban Health
    • Quantitative Methods for Social Epidemiology
    • Aging and Cognitive Function
    • Embodiment
    • Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • Kasim Ortiz headshot

    Kasim Ortiz, MS

    Assistant Professor
    Health Management and Policy, Drexel FIRST Program
    ko497@drexel.edu

    Research Interests:
    • Aging/Lifecourse
    • Community Engaged Research
    • Health Disparities
    • Health Services Research
    • Population Health
    • Racial and Ethnic Health Inequalities
    • Sexual Minorities and Neighborhoods
    • Substance Use

  • Agus Surachman headshot

    Agus Surachman, PhD, MS

    Assistant Professor
    Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Drexel FIRST Program
    as5796@drexel.edu

    Research Interests:
    • Aging
    • Biopsychosocial Factors of Health
    • Cardiovascular Disease
    • Health Disparities
    • Life Course
    • Racial Health Inequalities
    • Renal Disease
    • Socioeconomic Status
    • Stress

  • Luis Valdez headshot

    Luis Arturo Valdez, PhD, MPH

    Assistant Professor
    Community Health and Prevention, Drexel FIRST Program
    lav53@drexel.edu

    Research Interests:
    • Gender-Transformative Interventions
    • Patriarchy and Health
    • Men’s Health
    • Participatory Action Research
    • Latinx Health Disparities
    • Substance Use
    • Nutrition and Physical Activity
    • Stress

  • Kofoworola D.A. Williams headshot

    Kofoworola D.A. Williams, PhD, MPH

    Assistant Professor
    Community Health and Prevention, Drexel FIRST Program
    kofoworola.williams@drexel.edu

    Research Interests:
    • Black Men & Boys' Mental Health
    • Mental Health Promotion & Prevention
    • Social and Behavioral Determinants
    • Access
    • Masculinities
    • Help-Seeking
    • Social Media & Digital Technologies
    • User-Centered Design
    • Qualitative & Mixed Methods
    • Community-Engaged Research
    • Health Disparities
    • Digital Mental Health Equity

FIRST Faculty at the College of Nursing and Health Professions

Bertranna Muruthi headshot

Bertranna Muruthi, PhD

Assistant Professor of Counseling & Family Therapy
College of Nursing and Health Professions
Secondary appointment in Dornsife's Department of Community Health and Prevention
bm3345@drexel.edu

Research Interests:
Immigrant Health, Transnational Intersectionality, Community Based Participatory Research, Sociology of Families, Mental Health, Maternal and Child Health
 

Safiyyah Okoye headshot

Safiyyah Okoye, PhD, MSN

Assistant Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing and Health Professions
Joint appointment with Dornsife's Department of Health Management and Policy
smo93@drexel.edu

Research Interests:
Aging, Accidental Falls, Sleep, Home Environment, Socioeconomic Factors
 

Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation Program Program Fact Sheet:

Catalyzing Systemic Change at Drexel University to Support Diverse Faculty in Health Disparities Research: Drexel FIRST


Contact


Rachael Berget
Program Director
Drexel FIRST (Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation) Initiative
rjb395@drexel.edu

Upcoming Events from the Drexel FIRST Initiative: