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Milagros Rosal named inaugural vice provost for health equity at UMMS

Distinguished faculty member to be endowed as the Imoigele P. Aisiku, MD’97 Chair in Health Equity

UMass Medical School Communications

September 11, 2020
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Milagros Rosal, PhD

Milagros C. Rosal, PhD, professor of population & quantitative health sciences in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, has been appointed to the newly created position of vice provost for health equity at UMass Medical School, according to announcement by Chancellor Michael F. Collins and Provost Terence R. Flotte. In her new role, which begins immediately, Dr. Rosal reports to the provost with a direct advisory role to the chancellor.

“As a highly distinguished and accomplished faculty member and an influential thought leader in the field of health equity research, Dr. Rosal is uniquely equipped to help our institution develop and implement a strategic vision for increasing recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, an institutional priority articulated in the UMMS IMPACT 2025 Strategic Plan,” Chancellor Collins said. “While the term health equity is wide ranging, Dr. Rosal will draw upon her extensive experiences, expertise and networks to shape the vice provost for health equity position, doing so in concert with a number of senior leaders, including the vice provost for clinical and translational science, the vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and the vice provost for faculty affairs; and will co-chair the Provost’s Faculty Recruitment Task Force, a group that will work to advance the Medical School’s diversity goals within the faculty ranks.”

With this appointment, and pending final Board approval, Rosal will be named the inaugural recipient of the newest endowed faculty position created specifically to support the faculty member who serves as vice provost for health equity so that they may advance all aspects of health equity across the research, education and patient care mission areas. This endowed chair, the Imoigele P. Aisiku, MD’97 Chair in Health Equity and Diversity, which is the first to be established by an alumnus of the Medical School, is made possible by the generosity of Imoigele P. Aisiku, MD, MSCR, MBA. Dr. Aisiku serves as the chief of the Division of Emergency Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham Health, where he also serves as the vice chair of diversity, inclusion and health equity. He is an associate professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School, and also founded a successful telehealth company, which provides critical care telemedicine services.

“Rosal is a pioneering community-engaged researcher, who has long understood the importance of partnering with local community members and special populations to inform and shape her research studies and public health interventions,” Dr. Flotte said.

Her research focuses on the prevention and management of chronic health conditions that pose a significant burden to racial and ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations. She has been the principal or co-principal investigator on more than 40 research studies, most of which have been federally funded, including two center grants related to health equity: the Center for Health Equity Intervention Research funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Throughout her tenure at UMass Medical School, Rosal has been an ardent champion for diversity and health equity and has taken on numerous leadership roles that have contributed to the institution’s diversity and inclusion goals. For more than a decade, she was a member of the Faculty Diversity Scholars Program (FDSP) Oversight Committee and, as committee chair between 2008 and 2012, she spearheaded the development of FDSP guidelines and processes that helped to streamline and expedite the selection and evaluation of scholars and faculty mentors. She directs the KL2 Diversity Program, a nascent program that is responsible for recruiting junior scientists from groups underrepresented in medicine. She was the driving force behind the establishment of the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Equity Research in 2008 and has been a co-leader of this program since its inception. In recognition of her tireless efforts to promote diversity at all levels of the Medical School, Rosal, in 2016, received the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity.

Rosal has shared her time and talent through service on the Board of Trustees of the YWCA of Central Massachusetts; as a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group for Diversity and Inclusion; as a contributing member to the Society of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine’s Diversity Institute for Emerging Leaders; and as a senior mentor in the Latina Researchers Network.

She holds degrees from the Universidad Católica Andres Bello, Venezuela, and Nova Southeastern University in Florida. She completed fellowship training in psychology and behavioral medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The search committee charged with identifying an experienced and talented faculty member to serve as the first vice provost for health equity at UMMS was led by Mark Johnson, MD, PhD, the Maroun Semaan Chair in Neurosurgery, and chair and professor of neurological surgery.