Nynikka Palmer, DrPH, MPH

Dr. Nynikka Palmer is a cancer disparities researcher in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and has secondary appointments in the Departments of Urology and Radiation Oncology.

Her research program sits at the intersection of multiple fields and methods, including cancer disparities, health services research (e.g., quality of care), communication in healthcare, and community engagement. Her goal is to advance research dedicated to unraveling the mechanisms of cancer disparities, with a depth of knowledge in cultural influence, patient-centered care and relationship-centered communication, and strategies that enhance the delivery of high-quality cancer care.

As Dr. Palmer’s goal is to find actionable solutions to disparities, she realized training providers in high-quality relationship-centered communication could impact healthcare practices and outcomes. She currently has a National Cancer Institute K01 career development award to bridge the divide between low-income African American men and equal prostate cancer treatment by anchoring the evidence-based intervention of peer navigation in the relational concept of African American brotherhood as a means to foster trust and empowerment, and optimize relationship-centered communication and quality of care. Dr. Palmer is also co-leader of the Prostate Cancer Task Force of the San Francisco Cancer Initiative (SF CAN). As part of this effort, they are develop continuing medical education trainings on patient-provider communication regarding prostate cancer screening in primary care and treatment decision-making, which maximizes the integration of her ongoing training in relationship-centered communication.

In 2019, Dr. Palmer completed certification for the Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH) Relationship-Centered Communication Facilitators (RCF) Program, and also successfully completed the Facilitator Training Program for Relationship-Centered Communication for Equity and Inclusion. This year, Dr. Palmer was accepted to the ACH Faculty-In-Training program, an intensive learner-centered professional development program that builds on the skills developed in the RCF. Her goal as a facilitator in the Center for Enhancement of Communication in Healthcare is to assist in training UCSF providers and lay workers (e.g., peer navigators and support group facilitators) to strength patient-provider communication by maximizing mutual understanding and involvement in decision-making, showing patients their concerns are heard, and ensuring care plans meet patients’ needs.