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SFSU's first Health Equity Initiatives director

March 30, 2006

Photo of Cynthia GomezCynthia A. Gomez, Ph.D., the first director of SFSU's Health Equity Initiatives, will lead campus efforts to enhance and integrate research, curricula, community service and training programs that address health disparities in the United States. A leading scientist in HIV prevention and the former codirector of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at University of California, San Francisco, Gomez joins the SFSU campus community on April 3.

Gomez is a pioneer in research concerning cultural determinants of sexual behaviors, gender dynamics and programs for people living with HIV. She has served on several national committees including the Center for Disease Control's HIV and STD Advisory Council and is a member of the board of trustees of the National AIDS Fund and the Guttmacher Institute. She was an appointed member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS under both the William J. Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

Chief among Gomez's responsibilities at SFSU will be to help the University gain a higher profile among institutions committed to research on health equity and build stronger relationships with academic collaborators, private funding sources and government agencies. She will also help strengthen the interdisciplinary research and instructional collaborations between all nine SFSU colleges, support faculty already involved in health equity research, and mentor faculty new to this area of research.

"One of San Francisco State's strategic goals is to address, intervene and positively change the profile of health disparities in the United States," said John Gemello, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Cynthia Gomez's perspective on and prominence in the highly competitive arena of research funding will help us to make this goal a reality."

Gomez considers her new position an expansion of her life's work.

"I share San Francisco State's core values of equity and social justice and this is an opportunity to work with the extraordinary SFSU faculty to improve the health status of our nation," Gomez said. She is especially eager to expose the University's large undergraduate student body to the critical role each can play in achieving health equity today and in the future. "These [students] are our next generation of policymakers," Gomez said. She hopes that students from as many fields as possible will look into the prospect of careers in health equity research.

Gomez plans to spend her first year at SFSU gathering information from faculty, students, administration and staff to build a vision for the work, and set goals for this vision. "I plan to do a lot of listening," Gomez said. "I want to hear everything including pie in the sky ideas."

A San Pedro native, Gomez has also lived in Ecuador and Puerto Rico. She received a master's in consulting psychology from Harvard University and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Boston University.

-- Denize Springer


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Last modified March 30, 2006 by University Communications