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2020-2021

Jairo Fúquene-Patiño

Jairo Fúquene-Patiño

Assistant Professor, Statistics
Fúquene-Patiño holds a B.S. in Statistics (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), an M.S. in Statistics from the University of Puerto Rico, an M.S., in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from UC Santa Cruz where he was Chancellor’s Fellow (2011). He obtained his Ph.D. in 2018 from University of Warwick and most recently was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Statistical Science at Duke University. 

His research focuses on developing methods and computationally scalable approaches for a variety of data-driven problems with an emphasis on Bayesian model selection, Weakly Informative Priors and Bayesian modeling with extreme values, in conjunction with applications to economic time series, Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), clinical trials, environmental data, survey sampling data among others. 

Fúquene-Patiño developed a deep understanding of how barriers affect minority students on an instructional level during his time as a full-time lecturer at the University of Puerto Rico, in his daily contact with students from underrepresented backgrounds as well as students from the LGBTQ community. According to the department of statistics chair, Alexander Aue, “Being the first faculty member from a Latin background in the Department of Statistics, Jairo will be instrumental in removing barriers preventing full participation of underrepresented minorities in higher education for our majors and graduate students.” As a statistical consultant with global public health organizations, Fúquene-Patiño delivered vital and new statistical methodologies for public health institutions in developing countries -- data which he analyzed and used effectively to improve the health of Colombians. This work has led to a new line of research in Fúquene-Patiño’s portfolio, namely, this is directly tied to public policies aimed at improving health outcomes for the disadvantaged.

Theanne N. Griffith

Theanne N. GriffithAssistant Professor, Physiology and Membrane Biology
Griffith has a B.A. in Neuroscience and in Spanish from Smith College, and obtained her Ph.D. in 2015 from Northwestern University. She received her postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Ellen A. Lumpkin (Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University; 2015-19). Dr. Griffith was most recently an instructor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience of Rutgers University. 

Dr. Griffith is a neuroscientist interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying thermal sensations in both health and disease. Her current work combines electrophysiology, transgenic mouse models, and behavioral studies to investigate how cold sensation is encoded in peripheral sensory neurons. She is also interested in the mechanisms underlying neurological complications in sickle cell anemia, in which cold-induced pain crises are a prominent pathological feature. Dr. Griffith was a Diversity Fellow for the Neuroscience Scholars Program under the Society for Neuroscience (2011-2014), and currently serves as a Class Advisor for this program. Additionally, she was a Leadership Fellow for the Northwestern University Center for Leadership (2013-2014).

Dr. Griffith is also a children’s book author. She has published three books of in a science adventure chapter book series entitled “The Magnificent Makers.” Luis F. Santana, chair of Physiology and Membrane Biology at the UC Davis School of Medicine notes, “she is the first faculty candidate I have met in my long career that performs as a scientist, advocate, teacher, and communicator at the highest level.” As such, Dr. Griffith’s passions include science outreach in underserved communities. She notes “I firmly believe the ‘leaky pipeline’, as it pertains to racial and ethnic minorities in academic science, begins much earlier than graduate school...As an African American woman scientist, it is extremely important that I am seen by such children.” She writes that her goal is “creating a strong peer network can prevent feelings of isolation that are common for scientists from minority groups.” In her mentorship, Dr. Griffith’s main goal is to instill agency in the members of her lab. She enjoys teaching students at all levels, from introductory courses to topical classes to teaching medical students the basic principles of physiology.

Tiffani Johnson

Tiffani JohnsonAssistant Professor, Emergency Medicine
Dr. Johnson’s research portfolio reflects her commitment to improving the quality of care for underserved children. Her interdisciplinary research program is focused on race and racism and its impact on child health. She is currently exploring root causes of inequities in the healthcare and early childhood education settings, including research on racism and bias and its impact on the health and well-being of children. Her research has been funded by AHRQ, the RWJ Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, and the NIH. She is partnering with Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) to investigate disparities within the multisite PECARN Electronic Health Record Data Registry. Her leadership in PECARN includes serving as Chair of the Disparities Working Group, Disparities Consultant to the PRIME Node, and Co-Chair for the Protocol Review and Development subcommittee. Her research expertise has led to roles as Co-Chair of the Race in Medicine Special Interest Group of the Academic Pediatric Association, and extensive leadership in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) serving on the Taskforce on Addressing Bias and Discrimination (2017-2019), the Committee on the Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health (2019-present), and the National Advisory Board for Addressing Social Health and Early Childhood Wellness (2019-present).

Dr. Johnson’s personal background played an influential role in shaping her career trajectory. Her experiences as a student in under-resourced urban public schools served as an early lesson in social inequities and fostered her interest in public policy. As a student at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, she was exposed to the interface of medicine and policy and participated in a fellowship with the New Jersey Department of Health in the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health. She pursued a career in Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) to combine clinical mastery with health services research that creates a platform to help children have equal access to opportunities that allow them to attain the highest quality of health. She completed her PEM fellowship at the University of Pittsburg, where she also received her Master of Science degree in Clinical Research.

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