August 29, 2019

Leadership Changes at the Institute for Clinical Research Education

The Institute for Clinical Research Education is pleased to announce some exciting changes to the leadership team. Get to know our new leaders!

Esa M. Davis, MD, MPH, FAAFP, is Associate Professor of Medicine and Clinical & Translational Science, and the Director of the UPMC Tobacco Treatment Service at UPMC Presbyterian/Montefiore. She is currently Director of the Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity (CEED) program. Dr. Davis is an NIH-funded clinical researcher with a patient-oriented and comparative effectiveness research program focused on obesity-related health disparities in women and children and in treating tobacco use in hospitalized patients. She contributes so much to the ICRE, the Division, and the University, as an expert in her field of research, a dedicated clinician, and a sought-after mentor and educator. She was named the Division of General Internal Medicine’s MVP in 2018. A former K Scholar herself, she will bring her extensive teaching and mentoring experience and track record of developing the careers of junior investigators to her role as Associate Director of the KL2.

Utibe R. Essien, MD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and a Core Investigator in the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. A health services researcher and practicing general internist, Dr. Essien conducts research on racial/ethnic health disparities, with a specific focus on the use of novel therapeutics and technologies in the management of chronic diseases. As Director of the CEED II Program for Medical Students, he will lead this successful career development program for minority medical students and ensure that it continues to provide students with a solid foundation for a successful research career.

Jessica S. Merlin, MD, PhD, MBA, is a tenure-track Associate Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases. She is an independent clinician-investigator with a research program focusing on chronic pain and opioids in individuals with serious illness. She is supported by an R01 evaluating a behavioral intervention she developed for chronic pain in patients with HIV, and has received several young investigator awards recognizing her work. She holds several local leadership roles related to trainee research, including multiple roles in the Internal Medicine Residency program, and recently became the Associate Director of the GIM Clinician-Researcher Fellowship. She has been running the K club for our K scholars who are writing external Ks or other career development awards. As Director of Mentoring, Dr. Merlin will oversee the mentoring components of all our programming, making sure that Scholars are well-matched with mentors, that mentors receive the appropriate training, and that the mentoring our Scholars receive prepares them in the most effective ways possible to launch a successful research career.

Thomas Radomski, MD, MS, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Clinical & Translational Science. His research focuses on ways to accurately measure and reduce the delivery of low-value care and how the receipt of care across multiple healthcare systems influences health service utilization, outcomes, and value. He is an alumnus of both our Master of Science in Clinical Research degree program and our KL2 Program, through which he studied the prevalence and determinants of low-value test and procedure use among Veterans, with a focus on the dual use of VA and Medicare services. Currently, Dr. Radomski is supported by a K23 award from the National Institute on Aging to develop, validate, and apply a claims-based metric of low-value prescribing in older adults. As Director of Academic Programs in Clinical Research, his outstanding leadership skills and commitment to excellence in clinical research will be of great benefit to our M.S. and Certificate programs in Clinical Research.

Yael Schenker, MD, MAS, is a tenure-track Associate Professor of Medicine, and Director of Palliative Care Research for the Division of General Internal Medicine. An independent clinician-investigator, she has built up a strong national reputation in palliative care and medical ethics. Currently PI of two R01s, her research program aims to understand and improve the provision of palliative care in serious illness. She has been a vital part of the ICRE’s and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s team science leadership group since 2016, and as Co-Director of Team Science, her leadership will be critical as we embark on the renewal of the CTSI.

Institute for Clinical Research Education
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