The University of Florida Health Cancer Center is pleased to announce that Luisel J. Ricks-Santi, Ph.D., has been appointed associate director for diversity, equity and inclusion, effective April 1, 2022.
In the role of associate director for diversity, equity and inclusion, Dr. Ricks-Santi will join the executive leadership of the Cancer Center and help further the Center’s goal of creating a culture of inclusion, diversity, equity, access and justice through patient care, research, training and engagement with the communities we serve.
“We’re delighted to have recruited Dr. Ricks Santi to the University of Florida and welcome her into this important new role at the UF Health Cancer Center,” said Jonathan Licht, M.D., director of the UF Health Cancer Center. “Dr. Ricks Santi is an accomplished cancer geneticist who understands the full range of issues regarding the genetics of cancer health disparities as well as the institutional and structural issues that can impede diversity, equity and inclusion. Her valuable perspective will help guide our center’s growth as we work to create a culture of inclusion across all boundaries while addressing some of the great cancer health disparities found in our region.”
Dr. Ricks-Santi, who also serves as an associate professor in the UF College of Pharmacy department of pharmacotherapy and translational research, is a cancer genomics researcher and population scientist possessing over 15 years of academic research experience. She is committed to diversity and inclusion through research education and training and has experience engaging diverse populations in cancer research and clinical trials.
“I am excited to be given the opportunity to build a program focused on the genetic basis of cancer disparities and to lead the development of the next generation of diverse cancer researchers and leaders,” Ricks-Santi said.
Dr. Ricks-Santi received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University in tumor biology and completed two post-doctoral fellowships at Howard University in cancer genomics/cancer disparities research and clinical-translational sciences. Her current research aims to identify the genetic drivers of cancer disparities with a focus on the breast and prostate cancer — two cancers with high mortality rates in the Black community.
Dr. Rick-Santi’s research, supported by several National Institutes of Health funded grants, focused on cancer genomics, health disparities and increasing the diversity of research trainees. She has published more than 35 peer-reviewed research articles and provided outstanding mentorship to numerous undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as early career investigators.
Additionally, Dr. Ricks-Santi co-leads the UF Health Cancer Center Health Disparities Working Group, which engages in foundational health disparities research from the molecule to the community. She is passionate about community outreach initiatives related to cancer screening recommendations, participation in clinical trials and diverse communities’ precision medicine research. Interacting directly with the community has inspired her to become a greater advocate for cancer screening, especially in communities where cancer incidence and mortality is high. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the The Links, Inc., two organizations dedicated to the implementation of programs that impact health disparities in the global community.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Ricks-Santi as she joins the UF Health Cancer Center team.