Akilah Keita, PhD, MA
RISE Cohort 4
As a researcher who is committed to achieving health equity for underserved populations, I have often struggled with finding the right balance between conducting research to advance science and making meaningful contributions to help communities. Many of the communities I work with (i.e., Southeast Asian refugee, African American, Hispanic and low-income) exhibit markers for cardiovascular disease at early ages, which increase their risks for earlier onset of chronic diseases that affect quality of life and ultimately population health. Given my desire to conduct high quality research and contribute to communities, I have devoted this stage of my career to implementing health promotion interventions that are relevant and impactful. I applied to the RISE Program because of the focus on training junior faculty in implementation and dissemination of evidence-based interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors. The RISE Program goal to achieve health equity through implementation and dissemination strongly aligns with my commitment to health promotion interventions and social justice for underserved communities. I also believe that the skills that I will acquire through the RISE Program will help me to find the balance between research and community. I am also excited about the wonderful mentoring, training and research opportunities made available through RISE. I look forward to joining my fellow scholars on this journey to further develop our skill-sets to improve population health.