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Contact & Staff Bios

Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities
National Cancer Institute 
9609 Medical Center Drive, MSC 9746 
Sixth Floor, West Tower
Rockville, MD 20850
Office Phone: 240-276-6170
Office Fax: 240-276-7862


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Staff Contacts by Offices & Branches

Office of the Director

Name Email & Office Phone Number Office Room
Sanya A. Springfield, Ph.D.
(240) 276-6170

H. Nelson Aguila, D.V.M.
Deputy Director
(240) 276-6170

Gregory Adams, Jr. M.S., Ph.D.
Program Director
(240) 276-5395
Jessica Calzola, Ph.D., P.M.P.
Program Director
(240) 276-7474

Tiffany Wallace, Ph.D.
Program Director
(240) 276-5114

Dionne Burt
Program Analyst
(240) 276-6174


Victoria Coan
Program Specialist
(240) 276-7659


Brian Davis 
Communications Manager
(240) 276-5677
Katelyn Garfinkel (C)
Senior Administrative Assistant
(240) 276-6933

Janice Jeter, B.A. (C)
Program Analyst
(240) 276-6245

Dawn Reid (C)
Program Specialist
(240) 276-7689


Diversity Training Branch (DTB)

Name Email & Office Phone Number Office Room

Behrous Davani, Ph.D
(240) 276-5677
Anthony DiBello, Ph.D.
Program Director
(240) 276-6936
Samson Y. Gebreab, Ph.D., M.Sc.
Program Director
(240) 276-7841
Jason Liu, Ph.D.
Program Director
(240) 276-6253

Belem López, Ph.D.
Program Director
(240) 276-5433

Laritza M. Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D.
Program Director
(240) 276-5969

Rita LaPointe, M.B.A
Program Analyst
(240) 276-5099


Integrated Networks Branch (INB)

Name Email & Office Phone Number Office Room
LeeAnn Bailey, M.B.B.S, Ph.D., M.S.
(240) 276-5337

Whitney Barfield, Ph.D.
Program Director
(240) 276-5729
Maria Jamela (Jay) R. Revilleza, Ph.D.
Program Director
(240) 620-0616
Sandra L. San Miguel-Majors, M.S., Dr.P.H.(c)
Program Director
(240) 276-5977

Anil Wali, Ph.D.
Program Director
(240) 276-6183

Molly Boyajian (C)
Program Specialist
(240) 276-6248


(C) indicates contract staff

Staff Bios

Office of the Director

Sanya A. Springfield (Ph.D.) – Director

Sanya A. Springfield is Director of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI's) Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) where she supports programs, initiatives, and activities to spawn cancer health disparities research, increase workforce diversity and create networks for community outreach, education and engagement. Within NCI, Dr. Springfield is a member of the Scientific Program Leadership (SPL) where she champions the need for continued investment for diversity training and education programs and to reduce cancer health disparities.
Previously, Dr. Springfield was chief of the NCI Diversity Training Branch, where she conceived, implemented and oversaw the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) program. Utilizing a unique, holistic, training pipeline approach, CURE seeks to increase the number of competitive cancer researchers from racial and ethnically diverse, and other underserved populations. Dr. Springfield expanded the CURE program, launching a middle school program as part of a CURE early intervention strategy and an Intramural CURE (iCURE) program aimed at enhancing the diversity of the NCI intramural research workforce. Prior to this, Dr. Springfield had expanded the diversity training landscape through the creation and implementation of the Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE). PACHE aims to improve the cancer research infrastructure at institutions serving underserved health disparity populations and underrepresented students (ISUPS) and enhance the ability of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers to address cancer health disparities in their communities.  

Dr. Springfield serves on a variety of trans-NCI and trans-NIH scientific and programmatic committees focused on disparities research, workforce diversity, and inclusive excellence, including the NCI’s Equity Council and the NIH Common Fund’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program Working Group Coordinators. For her vision and leadership in promoting diversity in biomedical research, Dr. Springfield was honored with the NIH Director’s Award and the NCI Director’s Award. Dr. Springfield also serves as a member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council and the Science Education and Career Development Committee, and played a vital role in establishing the annual The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved.

Dr. Springfield received her Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from Howard University and was the third African-American neuroscientist in the world. After completing her postdoctoral studies at the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, she joined the faculty at City College of New York. Dr. Springfield left the academic ranks to serve as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, and then, entered NIH as a Grants Associate after which she joined the NCI.

H. Nelson Aguila (D.V.M.) – Deputy Director

H. Nelson Aguila is Deputy Director of NCI’s CRCHD. In this capacity, Dr. Aguila plays a central role in coordinating the day-to-day functions of the Center and development of strategic planning, priority-setting and management of CRCHD’s disparities research, diversity training, and community education/outreach efforts.

Previously, Dr. Aguila served as chief of CRCHD's Diversity Training Branch. Prior to coming to NIH, Dr. Aguila worked at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Reviewer Toxicologist at the Center for Veterinary Medicine. Earlier in his career, Dr. Aguila held senior research scientist positions in neuropathology at the University of Miami and later in cancer gene therapy at Aventis-Gencell.

Dr. Aguila earned his doctor of veterinary medicine degree at Austral University in Chile and trained as a neurobiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

Gregory Adams, Jr. (Ph.D., M.S.) – Program Director

Gregory Adams, Jr. is a Program Director in the Office of the Director of the NCI’s CRCHD since 2021. In this role, his primary responsibility is program management for the Intramural Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (iCURE) program.

Prior to joining CRCHD, Dr. Adams was an Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Fellow at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) under Dr. Clare Waterman, where he studied and surveyed the organization of organelles and actin regulatory proteins mediating Leader Bleb Based Migration of cancer cells in non-adhesive confined environments mediating the microenvironment. As a Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Fellow, Dr. Adams joined the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE), where he helped to expand the number of disadvantaged students interested in health disparities-focused biomedical and health care careers through training opportunities to explore the scientific enterprise.

Dr. Adams earned his B.S. in Biology from Morehouse College. He received both his Master’s in Biomedical Research—where he studied colorectal cancer and adenomas under Dr. Felix Aihkionbare—and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Science in Physiology—where he studied cytoskeleton interactions to facilitate breast cancer cell migration under Dr. Xuebiao Yao—from Morehouse School of Medicine. He is a member of the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), as well as AACR's Minorities in Cancer Research.

Jessica M. Calzola (Ph.D.) – Program Director

Jessica M. Calzola is a Program Director in the Office of the Director of the NCI’s CRCHD since 2019. In this role, Dr. Calzola is the lead Program Director for the Intramural Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (iCURE) program. iCURE supports mentored research experiences for qualified students and scientists from diverse backgrounds in the multidisciplinary NCI research environment. Dr. Calzola’s commitment for training stems from the mentorship she received as part of the NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP) in the summer of 2007. Moreover, her passion for workforce diversity is ever evident in her efforts growing the iCURE program and participating in committees such as the Training Directors' Diversity Subcommittee. Additionally, Dr. Calzola is an integral member of the trans-NIH team for the NIH Common Fund Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) program, which aims to enhance and maintain cultures of inclusive excellence in the biomedical research community. She is the Program Official named on the first six FIRST Cohort awards. The ultimate goal of the FIRST Cohort program is to employ a faculty cohort model to foster cultures of inclusive excellence at NIH-funded institutions with a sustained commitment to diversity and inclusion in biomedical research.

Prior to joining CRCHD, Dr. Calzola was a Program Manager with Leidos, supporting the Army’s Medical Research Program in Systems Biology at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD. Dr. Calzola also had a previous role providing project and program management support to the Congressionally Directed Research Program, specifically the Parkinson’s Research Program and the Joint Program Committee-6/Combat Casualty Care Research Program. In these roles she helped recruit, coordinate and execute programmatic review meetings and other program requirements.

Dr. Calzola earned her B.S. in biochemistry from Juniata College, Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate she was selected for the NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program. In this program she conducted basic research for a summer with Dr. Susan Gottesman at NCI. Dr. Calzola then went on to get her Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics from Rutgers University, NJ. Her postdoctoral training was done in the Proteomic section of the Laboratory of Systems Biology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where she worked on modeling toll-like receptor 4 signaling.

Tiffany Wallace (Ph.D.) – Program Director

Tiffany Wallace is a Program Director in the Office of the Director of the NCI’s CRCHD since 2014. In this role, Dr. Wallace contributes to CRCHD’s programmatic efforts to strengthen NCI’s cancer health disparity research portfolio, encompassing basic, clinical, translational, and population-based research. Additional roles include contributing to the grant management of basic cancer research in cancer health disparities and representing CRCHD in the NCI’s Provocative Questions Initiative.

Prior to joining NCI, Dr. Wallace was an Oncology Scientist at Human Genome Sciences (HGS), a biopharmaceutical corporation acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2011. While at HGS she managed oncology research programs and conducted preclinical development of promising cancer therapeutic drugs and biologics. 

Dr. Wallace received her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Florida in Gainesville. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis at NCI, where she conducted basic and translational research that provided novel insights on the role of biological factors as they contribute to cancer health disparities. Her research included identification of biomarkers of aggressive disease in prostate and breast cancers, with a focus on variations between different racial/ethnic groups.

Diversity Training Branch (DTB)

Behrous Davani (Ph.D.) – Chief

Behrous Davani, PhD, is Chief of the Diversity Training Branch of the NCI’s CRCHD since 2022. In this capacity, he plays a central role in the strategic planning of the branch and program implementation to enhance workforce diversity in cancer research. Dr. Davani oversees the management of the NCI’s diversity-focused training programs, including the extramural Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) program.

Prior to his appointment as Chief, Dr. Davani served as a Program Director in the Division for Research Capacity Building, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), where he oversaw the IDeA Regional Entrepreneurship Development Program and managed grants for the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, Science Education Partnership Awards, and Native American Research Centers for Health Programs. Before his time at NIGMS, Dr. Davani was a Program Director in NCI’s CRCHD, during which time he led the development, implementation, and management of various programs that address cancer health disparities. In this capacity, Dr. Davani managed, co-managed, or coordinated multiple CURE programs, Comprehensive Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (CPACHE U54) partnerships, and the PACHE Feasibility Studies to Build Collaborative Partnerships in Cancer Research (P20) program, among others.

Prior to first joining NCI, Dr. Davani served as a Scientific Review Manager in the Peer Review Science and Management Division of SRA International. While at SRA, he oversaw and managed the scientific review process for multiple research programs, including breast, ovarian, and lung cancer, for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. He received his PhD in molecular endocrinology from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

Dr. Davani is committed to developing innovative research and educational programs to advance health equity and promote diversity in biomedical research.

Anthony DiBello (Ph.D.) – Program Director

Anthony DiBello is a Program Director in the Diversity Training Branch of the NCI's CRCHD since October 2020. Dr. DiBello is primarily responsible for managing the Kirschstein NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (F31 - Diversity) program for NCI. In this role, Dr. DiBello also supports portfolio analysis and program evaluation efforts.

Prior to joining NCI, Dr. DiBello served as a data management and research officer at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. While at IMF/World Bank, Dr. DiBello conducted interdisciplinary research focused on relationships between environmental health, climate, economic inequality, and economic/social welfare. Before joining the IMF, Dr. DiBello spent years, first at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and later at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), conducting biomedical research investigating the mechanisms that govern ubiquitin-signaling and its role in responding to cell stress and DNA damage.

Dr. DiBello earned a dual B.S. in Physics and Mathematics, as well as a B.A. in Philosophy, from Northern Kentucky University. He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he completed his thesis on the “Regulation of Ubiquitin Conjugation and Removal.” His postdoctoral training, completed at NIDDK, focused on an investigation into the regulation of the cellular response to misfolded protein stress by ubiquitin-signaling.

Samson Y. Gebreab (Ph.D., MS.c.) – Program Director

Dr. Samson Gebreab is a Program Director in the Diversity Training Branch of the NCI’s CRCHD since 2020. In this role, Dr. Gebreab contributes to the grant management of Feasibility Studies to Build Collaborative Partnerships in Cancer Research (P20), NCI Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, and NCI Supplements to Promote Reentry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers, and conducts analyses on research activities and funding addressing cancer health disparities and minority health.

Prior to joining CRCHD, Dr. Gebreab worked as a Mathematical Statistician at the Center for Tobacco Products, FDA. In this role, he served as FDA's lead working groups on sampling design and data analyses and data delivery for the PATH Study and scientific reviewer for tobacco-related regulatory research projects. Prior joining to FDA, Dr. Gebreab was a Staff Scientist at NHGRI, NIH, and served as an Associate Investigator in Genomics, Environmental and Social Determinants of Cardiovascular Disease in African Americans. While at NHGRI, his research focused on health disparities, especially in African Americans, examining the impact of socioeconomic position across lifespan, psychosocial factors, behavioral, and neighborhood social and physical environments on health disparities and understanding the biological mechanisms contributing to racial/ethnic disparities in health outcomes. He was also actively involved in managing protocols and databases and mentoring summer students and postdoctoral fellows. Earlier in his career, Dr. Gebreab served as a Biostatistician/Epidemiologist of the Jackson Heart Study.

Dr. Gebreab received his M.Sc. in Geographic Information Science (GIS) from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and joint M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Statistics and Spatial Epidemiology from Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA. Dr. Gebreab completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, where he studied the influence of social determinants, such as socioeconomic status, neighborhood characteristics and psychosocial factors, on cardiovascular outcomes.

Jiexin (Jason) Liu (Ph.D., M.B.A, M.S.) – Program Director

Jason Liu is a Program Director in Office of the Director of the NCI’s CRCHD since 2013. In this role, Dr. Liu contributes to the identification of performance measures, design of data collection instruments, and conducts analyses to evaluate the impact of CRCHD-funded programs aimed at reducing cancer health disparities and increasing biomedical workforce diversity. In addition, Dr. Liu contributes to the grants management of CRCHD’s Research Conference Awards (R13).

Prior to joining NCI, Dr. Liu served as a CRCHD onsite contractor as biostatistician and program evaluation researcher conducting program evaluation.

Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. in health services research, policy, and administration from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. He earned his M.S. in chemistry and M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Liu completed his B.S. in pharmacy from the Shenyang College of Pharmacy in China.

Belem López (Ph.D.) – Program Director

Dr. Belem López is a Program Director in the Diversity Training Branch of NCI’s CRCHD since December 2021. In this role, Dr. López is primarily responsible for managing the Youth Enjoy Science Research Education Program (R25).

Prior to joining CRCHD, Dr. López was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, where she directed the LLAMA: Psycholinguistic and Sociolinguistic Laboratory. Her research examined the long-term cognitive and linguistic outcomes of bilingual language brokering experiences of Mexican American and Latinx immigrant children, adolescent, and young adults.

Dr. López earned a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Texas at El Paso. She received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology with a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from Texas A&M University. She completed two postdoctoral fellowships: one as the Carlos E. Castañeda Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Mexican American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin; and another as a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Pennsylvania.

Laritza M. Rodriguez (M.D., Ph.D.) – Program Director

Dr. Laritza Rodriguez is a Program Director in the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities since 2021. In this capacity, Dr. Rodriguez manages NCI Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21), Comprehensive Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (CPACHE U54) programs, and Minority Health and Health Disparities (MHHD) Coding and Data Processing addressing cancer health disparities and minority health.

Prior to joining CRCHD, Dr. Rodriguez served as a Staff Scientist at the Lister Hill Center at the National Library of Medicine. There, she contributed her clinical expertise to projects including drug analytics and annotation of multiple collections of radiology reports, clinical narratives and consumer questions for biomedical concepts and relations. She has also leveraged her clinical knowledge from 15 years as a practicing obstetrician gynecologist to apply machine learning techniques and data analysis of the biomedical literature, with a focus on maternal morbidity and mortality.

Dr. Rodriguez earned her medical degree from the Universidad del Rosario, Hospital de San Jose School of Medicine in Bogota, Colombia. She received the degree as Obstetrician Gynecologist from the same institution. Dr. Rodriguez is certified Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist through postdoctoral training from John’s Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, MO. She received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine, where her dissertation focused on machine learning applied to labor and delivery data.

Integrated Networks Branch (INB)

LeeAnn Bailey (M.B.B.S, Ph.D., M.S.) – Chief

LeeAnn Bailey is Chief of the Integrated Networks Branch of the NCI’s CRCHD since 2016. In this role, she manages, develops, and assesses strategies for enhancing the integration and dissemination of diversity training, women’s health, and sexual and gender minority efforts within and across NCI, as well as within the scientific community and underserved communities through NCI-supported networks. She also identifies and leverages opportunities to address unmet needs in cancer health disparities research.

Prior to joining NCI, she was a healthcare consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP. She has also been a principal investigator researching tissue engineered products and cellular inflammatory responses at the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as an adjunct professor at Morgan State University.

Dr. Bailey received her M.B.B.S (M.D. equivalent) from the University of Adelaide Medical School with an emphasis on aboriginal health and pediatric oncology. Dr. Bailey also has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and a M.S. in Biological and Physical Sciences from the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Whitney Barfield (Ph.D.) – Program Director

Dr. Whitney Barfield is a Program Director in the Integrated Networks Branch of the NCI’s CRCHD since August 2021. Before joining NCI, she completed a second postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University in the Behavioral Genetics of Addiction Laboratory, coordinating a multi-site, University-based study that examined both behavioral and genetic risks for substance use development in young adults. Prior to that, Dr. Barfield worked as a Program Officer at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science, supporting strategies to accelerate the integration of evidence-based genomic discoveries into clinical and public health settings. Dr. Barfield entered the extramural workforce as a S&T Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Office of Research on Women’s Health, where she helped to manage the office’s minority health and health disparities research portfolio.

Dr. Barfield completed her first postdoctoral fellowship at Children's National Health System, where she performed genetic profiling and developed fitness tracking applications for home monitoring in children with metabolic conditions. Dr. Barfield received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Howard University.

Maria Jamela (Jay) R. Revilleza (Ph.D.) – Program Director

Maria Jamela (Jay) R. Revilleza joined the Integrated Networks Branch of the NCI’s CRCHD as Program Director in February 2021. She is involved in projects related to cancer research and cancer disparities for integrated research, training and outreach network programs.

Prior to joining NCI, Dr. Revilleza was a Health Science Policy Analyst at the Tribal Health Research Office, Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Director, and earlier, a Scientific Program Analyst at Division for Research Capacity Building, National Institute of General Medical Sciences. She initially joined the NIH as a postdoc at the Molecular Biology Section of the Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. A former academician, she was an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of the Philippines (UP) and professorial lecturer at American University.

She received her PhD in Agricultural Chemistry from UP, with a Fulbright dissertation and MCBN-UNESCO grants at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her Master’s Degree in Food Science (Biochemistry minor) and an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from UP Los Baños.

Sandra L. San Miguel (M.S.) – Program Director

Sandra L. San Miguel is a Program Director in the Integrated Networks Branch of the NCI’s CRCHD since 2016. In this role, Ms. San Miguel contributes to the grants management of the to the National Outreach Network program. 

Prior to joining NCI, Ms. San Miguel served in academia, holding faculty positions at the Dept. of Medicine - Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas and at the Dept. of Biology and International Studies at Trinity University. Her expertise is in developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based, culturally sensitive behavioral interventions among racially/ethnically diverse populations within the U.S. and Latin America, with an emphasis on Latino cancer health disparities, patient navigation, recruitment into clinical trials/biorepositories, breast cancer genetic testing and survivorship.

Ms. San Miguel received her M.S. in counseling psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of the Incarnate Word.

Anil Wali (Ph.D.) – Program Director

Anil Wali is a Program Director in the Integrated Networks Branch of the NCI’s CRCHD since 2009. In this role, Dr. Wali contributes to the grants management of CRCHD’s Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program. He also provides technical and scientific expertise to the Comprehensive Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (CPACHE U54) program.

Prior to joining NCI, Dr. Wali served as Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Pathology at the NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan. While at Wayne State University, Dr. Wali served as Principal Investigator on a Veterans Administration Merit Review award funded project on the Role of Ubiquitin-Proteasome Pathway in Mesothelioma Carcinogenesis. Dr. Wali conducted NCI Clinical trial on asbestos exposed patient populations to determine their risk for developing Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma using high throughput Genomics and Proteomics technologies.

Dr. Wali received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Kashmir, in Srinagar, India. He earned his Ph.D. at the Postgraduate Institute in Chandigarh, India. Dr. Wali completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute for Environmental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; at the FELS Institute for Cancer Research at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; and in the Department of Pathology at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.

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