23rd Annual MVTCP Symposium

FEBRUARY 10, 2024 8:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.

The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education, Meharry Medical College – click for directions

Special Address

Monica L. Baskin, PhD

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Health Equity

University of Pittsburgh

Monica L. Baskin, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Health Equity at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement and Associate Director for Health Equity at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. She received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology from Emory University, and a Master of Science in community counseling and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Georgia State University. She is a licensed psychologist whose research focuses on minority health and health disparities and utilizes community-based participatory methods to better understand and address individual, family, and environmental factors associated with the prevention and control of cancer and other chronic diseases. Over the past two decades, Dr. Baskin’s research program has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and other regional and local foundations. She is a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research (ABMR).

Dr. Baskin is also past president of SBM and currently serves as Chair of the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Continuous Update Project Global Expert Committee on Cancer Incidence and is the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and member of the administrative board of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) Council of Faculty and Academic Societies (CFAS). 


Karla Robles, PhD Candidate, is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship and a Scientist Mentoring and Diversity Program scholar in medical technology (SMDP MedTech). She is pursuing a PhD in Engineering and Computational Science from Tennessee State University (TSU). Her research originates from a multi-institutional collaborative project (Mu/Shanker/Giorgio) supported by an NIH-funded U54 grant between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University, and TSU. In her work, she develops and characterizes sustained-release microcapsules for the immunotherapy approaches of ovarian cancer using electrohydrodynamic atomization (EHDA). Ovarian cancer, like many cancers, has lower survival rates in women of color. A sustained-release therapeutic can reduce the number of dose administrations, and this work will be particularly impactful for patients for whom frequent access to healthcare is a difficulty. As a scientist and engineer, she plans to continue investigating health disparities and developing accessible therapeutics. In her career, she wants to build up inclusive communities where immigrants, people of color, members of the queer community, people with disabilities, and anyone with a journey is celebrated. Karla is an Ecuadorian immigrant and a first-generation student – she enjoys creative writing and crocheting amigurumi and is a volunteer English instructor for adult Latinx students.

Ho-Jin Koh, PhD, MS, is an associate professor of biological sciences at the College of Life & Physical Sciences, Tennessee State University. Dr. Koh studies energy metabolism and exercise physiology focusing on the role of TRB3 on white adipose tissue adaptation and beige fat formation during cold exposure and exercise training. He hopes to soon establish the novel function of TRB3 in energy metabolism. This vital link will result in the development of new therapies to prevent obesity and its related diseases, including type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Sonya Reid, MD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center). Dr. Reid’s research primarily focuses on health disparities in breast cancer, specifically young-onset breast cancer and hereditary breast cancer. One of her efforts is focused on investigating genomic differences that may be contributing to the racial survival disparity in breast cancer.  Dr. Reid is also focused on improving health care delivery to underserved communities and increasing the representation of minority patients in clinical trials. She is also passionate about Global oncology and is actively involved in breast cancer research in Jamaica. Dr. Reid received the Martin Luther King Jr. award in recognition of her work in diversity, inclusion, and equity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Clinically, she focuses on caring for breast cancer patients with a special interest in young-onset breast cancer. 

Maureen Sanderson, PhD, is Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Meharry Medical College. Dr. Sanderson has led etiologic and intervention studies of breast, prostate and HPV-related cancers for over 25 years. She has incorporated community-engaged research in these studies by establishing strong ties with community members that made it possible to obtain input and modify study designs accordingly.