The BVOGUE Team
We are a passionate team of gynecologic cancer patients, caregivers, physicians, public health experts, community partners, researchers, and students working together towards antiracist research and action. This study is funded by the Cornell Center for Health Equity under the project title “Centering the Marginalized Voices of Black Patients with Gynecological Cancer as a First Step in Healthcare Curriculum Development,” supported by MOQC (the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium). Our community partners are SHARE Cancer Support in NYC and Gilda’s Club of Metro Detroit.
Meet the Project Coordinators
Onyinye Balogun, MD
BVOGUE Principal Investigator
Onyinye is a Clinical Scientist and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Weill Cornell Medicine. She specializes in the treatment of breast and gynecologic malignancies. When she was 12 years old, she saw her aunt’s experience with breast cancer, which drove her interest in tackling cancer.
Onyinye is passionate about health equity, and wants to be involved in projects which positively impact the experience of Black gynecologic cancer patients.
Amelia Safi, PhD, MS
BVOGUE Principal Investigator
Amelia is an Associate Professor of Behavioral Science and Public Health Practice in the Department of Public and Ecosystem Health at Cornell University. She studies how a range of factors influence health and health disparities, including patient interactions with health care providers.
Amelia loves working on interdisciplinary teams and with project partners who have expertise from their lived experience.
BVOGUE Focus Group Leader
Jersey City, NJ
Nefa-Tari is a 3 time cancer survivor, twice uterine cancer and then ovarian cancer. She is a Patient Advocate for women facing cancer with a special focus on Black and younger women diagnosed with gynecologic cancers who often encounter disparities. As the Outreach and Uterine Cancer Coordinator at SHARE, Nefa-Tari helps to support and empower underserved communities by offering informational presentations about how to recognize the sign and symptoms and risk factors of gynecologic cancers, sharing her story and facilitating several support groups.
Nefa-Tari has a deep passion for being the voice of those who feel like they are not being heard and she continues to help raise awareness of racial disparities in healthcare and overall.
Amanda Crowell Itliong, BA, MEd
BVOGUE Project Coordinator
Rochester Hills, MI
Amanda is living with ovarian cancer for the 4th time in 13 years. She is a speaker for Survivors Teaching Students on Ovarian Cancer, Co-Chair of American College of Radiology’s Quality Experience Committee, and a member of the Patient and Caregiver Oncology Quality Council in Michigan. As an activist she supports access to quality healthcare for everyone and is passionate about removing racism from cancer care.
Before becoming disabled, Amanda directed leadership and service efforts for university students and served as a nonprofit consultant. She brings her experience teaching public service leadership, community engagement, and social justice to healthcare through BVOGUE.
Meet the Research Team
Vanessa Aron, BA, RYT
Project Manager, MOQC
Ann Arbor, MI
Vanessa is a project manager with the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium. Although she got involved in healthcare on (happy) accident, she became passionate about quality improvement and enhancing patient care in the realm of gynecologic oncology.
Vanessa believes that the world has a lot of room to be better and more equitable. Providing and advocating for equal access to safety, security, trust, and happiness is the concept that drives Vanessa’s passion.
Pharmacy Student, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
As a third-year student at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, Ari is involved with student organizations focusing on healthcare system and the role pharmacists play in delivering care. Ari’s interests include ambulatory care, psychiatry, and substance use disorder.
Ari has been drawn to healthcare due to its impact on people’s daily lives. As a future healthcare provider, she wants to be able to help her prospective patients navigate both positive and negative effects of various medications.
MPH Student, George Washington University
Shea is currently an MPH in Health Policy candidate at George Washington University, and a Program Associate at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
She became involved in healthcare while completing her undergraduate degree in public health. The interest was further nurtured during the internships at the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium. Equity in cancer care has been a passion and a focus in Shea’s studies and career.
Hannah Lee [Credentials]
Cornell University Student
As a pre-med student, Hannah got into healthcare because of her interest in helping people, and specifically creating an inclusive space for all patients.
Hannah started a nonprofit organization called Mission Red where they aim to eliminate period stigma and period poverty in her local community. She is also involved in various clubs on the Cornell University campus, including EARS (a peer counseling program), Planned Parenthood, Ithaca Health Initiative, and KDSAP (a program offering free kidney screenings).
Jennifer Gil, MD
Cornell MPH Student
Jennifer was born in Syracuse, New York and raised in Colombia, South America, where she pursued a Medical Degree. She was chosen by the Colombian government as a general practitioner to provide medical social services in an impoverished Colombian village. During that experience, she developed her passion for helping communities in need, specifically women.
Jennifer is involved in a foundation that aims to ensure availability of vaccines for children around the world, and in student organizations that focus on women’s health, particularly in underprivileged communities.
Megan Mullins, BA, MPH
Research Fellow, University of Michigan
Megan is a cancer care delivery researcher at the University of Michigan and a fellow with NRG Oncology’s Cancer Care Delivery Research Committee. She is passionate about improving the quality and equity of cancer care.
Megan has always been interested in cancer research. Informed by an internship during her undergraduate studies, she discovered the critical importance of data in healthcare which fueled her professional pursuits.
Founder, Black Cancer Collaborative
Kimberly is a survivor of ovarian cancer and early stage, triple positive breast cancer. She has served as a Pre Reviewer for the Department of Defense, Ovarian Cancer Research Program, a standing member of the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance’s Health Disparities Committee and has established a special commission on Gynecologic Cancer in the state of Illinois. Kimberly founded the Survivors Advising Scientists Educational Program, which creates educational modules on ovarian cancer research and the Black Cancer Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that creates partnerships between Black cancer patients and the medical and scientific communities on issues of health equity, patient inclusion and clinical trials participation.
Mariem Ruiz Martinez, MBA
Senior Project Manager, MOQC
Kansas City, Missouri
Mariem earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI and then obtained her MBA with an emphasis in Project Management at Saint Leo University in Florida.
Throughout her career, Mariem has gained a strong background in Leadership Development. Most recently she served as a Finance Manager and before that a Supply Chain Manager for AdventHealth Kansas City where she also served as a representative for the organization in the Kansas City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is passionate about healthcare and the positive impact her work can have in improving people’s life.
Cornell MPH Student
Nyarie is currently working with the Cornell Center of Health Equity to develop a racial allyship training. She got into healthcare because she didn’t like how politicized healthcare was in Zimbabwe, where her parents and two sisters live. She really believes that the delivery of people’s basic health rights should not be determined by who is in office.
Nyarie started a food drive during the COVID-19 pandemic using her Instagram and Facebook) to buy a months’ worth of groceries for a child and grandparent-headed families in Zimbabwe. She raised $4,058 and delivered 315 food hampers.
For more information, we are available via phone (917) 740-7133 or email BVOGUEstudy@gmail.com.
This study has been approved by the IRB at Cornell University: https://centerforhealthequity.cornell.edu/