Dr. Rhoads is an associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Director of the Office of Community Engagement for the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (HDFCCC). Rhoads has formal training and board certification in general and colon and rectal surgery and founded the pelvic floor clinic at Stanford, developing a regional reputation for pelvic floor reconstruction and management of functional disorders. Dr. Rhoads conducts health services research highlighting the relationship between the delivery of evidence-based cancer care and survival disparities for racial/ethnic minorities in California. Her groundbreaking work has demonstrated the link between cancer care equity and the closure of racial/ethnic survival gaps in a variety of malignancies.
Rhoads’ longstanding commitment to community engagement as a path to eliminating disparities led to her current role as the Director of the Office of Community Engagement for the UCSF HDFCCC. In this role, she provides leadership for institutional investigators in their engagement with communities to enhance both research and practice intended to reduce the burden of cancer, address inequities in care and reduce disparities in survival. Dr. Rhoads is also the founding Director of Umoja Health, a community coalition born in 2020 to rapidly mobilize to address the COVID-19 disparities facing communities of color. Its focus has been on building community coalitions with the capacity to address the underlying causes of health inequities by dismantling systemic racism and reimagining healthcare delivery. Under Dr. Rhoads’s leadership, Umoja Health has grown to engage with more than 105 community-based partners and has reached more than 18,000 individuals with public health education, health screenings, and vaccinations, while also cultivating a diverse community workforce. The effort centers community engagement, community data ownership, and efforts to transform institutions so that action is valued over talk, and impact is valued over impact factors. for COVID-19 education, testing resources, and vaccinations.
Dr. Rhoads earned her MD from the UCSF School of Medicine, a Master’s degree in Health and Medical Sciences from UC Berkeley, a Master’s degree in Public Health, Health Management and Policy, from the Harvard School of Public Health where she served as a California Endowment Scholar in minority health policy and was the inaugural Philip R. Lee Fellow in Health Policy at UCSF. Prior to her current Directorship at UCSF, Rhoads founded and led the Community Outreach and Engagement program at the Stanford Cancer Institute.