Nynikka R. A. Palmer, DrPH, MPH

Helen Diller Family Chair in Community Education and Outreach for Urologic Cancer, UCSF

Assistant Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) for Faculty, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; Associate Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, Department of Medicine, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Membership

Cancer Control

Research Summary

Dr. Palmer is an Associate Professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, with secondary appointments in the Departments of Urology and Radiation Oncology. She has a long history and commitment to health equity research. Her research focuses on unraveling the mechanisms of cancer disparities in high-quality cancer care and health outcomes among African Americans, with a depth of knowledge in cultural influence, patient-centered care and communication, and strategies that enhance delivery of high-quality cancer care. Community engagement is the foundation of her work and she strongly believes in the adage, “nothing about me without me,” as patients’ and communities’ perspectives are essential to advance research and optimize health care.

Dr. Palmer currently has a National Cancer Institute-funded career development award to bridge the divide between low-income African American men and equal prostate cancer (PCa) 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 patient-centered communication and quality of care. She has led and collaborated on various research projects on PCa and patient-provider communication, including a scoping review to characterize the growing body of literature on postoperative patient-initiated communication after hospital discharge. She is co-leader of the Prostate Cancer Task Force of the San Francisco Cancer Initiative (SF CAN), which aims to eliminate PCa disparities among African American men through community and healthcare system engagement to advance education, ensure early detection and appropriate follow-up of aggressive disease, implement navigation and support services, and engage in multiple institutional partnerships that ensure high-quality care throughout the city and county of San Francisco. To promote PCa survivorship, empowerment and patient engagement, she established and oversees two support groups in the San Francisco Bay Area for African American men facing PCa – one that has been thriving since September 2014 and another that was launched January 2020. Several group participants also serve as advisors to her ongoing research program.

Research Funding

  • December 1, 2021 - November 30, 2024 - An Atlas of Human Prostate Across Ancestries , PI of Community Engagement . Sponsor: Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (Advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation), Sponsor Award ID: P0559192
  • January 1, 2023 - December 31, 2023 - PACE Yourself: Optimizing Patient- Centered Communication for Prostate Cancer Care in the Safety-Net , PI . Sponsor: Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research's pilot grant program, Sponsor Award ID:
  • October 22, 2021 - April 21, 2023 - HERE with Community (Health Equity REsearch with Community health centers) , Dual-PI . Sponsor: PCORI – Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Sponsor Award ID: P0554210 [CA-0184403]
  • September 1, 2017 - August 31, 2022 - Constructing a Relational Bridge to Achieve High-Quality Prostate Cancer Care for African Americans , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: K01CA211965


  • Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, BS, 05/00, Community Health Education
  • Emory University, Atlanta, GA, MPH, 05/02, Behavioral Science Health Education
  • University of Texas, Houston, TX, DrPH, 08/10, Health Promotion Behavioral Science
  • Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, Fellowship, 09/13, Cancer Prevention & Control – Cancer Survivorship

Honors & Awards

  • 1997-2000
    Regents Associate Scholarship, Morgan State University
  • 2000
    Golden Key National Honor Society, Morgan State University
  • 2000
    Outstanding Practicum Experience Award, Morgan State University
  • 2001
    Minority Training Program in Cancer Control Research Scholar, Northern California Cancer Center
  • 2003
    Doctoral Application Support Award, Minority Training Program in Cancer Control Research
  • 2004
    Excellence in Community Outreach – Mission Delivery, American Cancer Society
  • 2010
    Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, University of Texas School of Public Health
  • 2011
    Health Equity Leadership Institute Scholar, Collaborative Center for Health Equity, University of Wisconsin.
  • 2012
    Selected Participant, RWJF New Connections Sixth Annual Symposium
  • 2012
    Selected Participant, RWJF New Connections Sixth Annual Research and Coaching Clinic
  • 2013-2015
    Recipient of the Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program, NIMHD (2 years)
  • 2014
    University of California, San Francisco Academic Affairs Sponsorship: Association of American Medical Colleges Minority Faculty Career Development Seminar
  • 2015
    Distinguished Honoree of the Black Student Health Alliance – 2nd Annual African Heritage Celebration, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2016-present
    Helen Diller Family Chair in Community Education and Outreach for Urologic Cancer (Endowed Chair). University of California San Francisco
  • 2016-2017
    Recipient of the Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program, NIMHD (1-year)
  • 2016-2017
    Recipient of University of California, San Francisco CTSI KL2 Career Development Award
  • 2017-2019
    Putnam Scholar, Academy of Communication in Healthcare, Putnam Scholar Program
  • 2019
    UCSF School of Medicine Dean's Population Health and Health Equity (PHHE) Scholar Award
  • 2021-2023 
    Recipient of the NIH Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program Award (2-year award)

Selected Publications

  1. Washington SL, Lonergan PE, Cowan JE, Zhao S, Broering JM, Palmer NR, Hicks C, Cooperberg MR, Carroll PR. Ten-year work burden after prostate cancer treatment. Cancer Med. 2023 Sep 19.  View on PubMed
  2. Shaw NM, Hills N, Holler J, Fernandez A, Davis D, Palmer NR, Sliwka D, Breyer BN. The Impact of Patient-Physician Racial and Gender Concordance on Patient Satisfaction with Outpatient Clinic Visits. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2023 Jun 21.  View on PubMed
  3. Moore CM, King LE, Withington J, Amin MB, Andrews M, Briers E, Chen RC, Chinegwundoh FI, Cooperberg MR, Crowe J, Finelli A, Fitch MI, Frydenberg M, Giganti F, Haider MA, Freeman J, Gallo J, Gibbs S, Henry A, James N, Kinsella N, Lam TBL, Lichty M, Loeb S, Mahal BA, Mastris K, Mitra AV, Merriel SWD, van der Kwast T, Van Hemelrijck M, Palmer NR, Paterson CC, Roobol MJ, Segal P, Schraidt JA, Short CE, Siddiqui MM, Tempany CMC, Villers A, Wolinsky H, MacLennan S. Best Current Practice and Research Priorities in Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer-A Report of a Movember International Consensus Meeting. Eur Urol Oncol. 2023 04; 6(2):160-182.  View on PubMed
  4. Borowsky HM, Willis A, Bullock JL, Fuentes-Afflick E, Palmer NRA. Opportunities and challenges in discussing racism during primary care visits. Health Serv Res. 2023 04; 58(2):282-290.  View on PubMed
  5. Palmer NR, Smith AN, Campbell BA, Andemeskel G, Tahir P, Felder TM, Cicerelli B. Navigation programs relevant for African American men with prostate cancer: a scoping review protocol. Syst Rev. 2022 06 14; 11(1):122.  View on PubMed
  6. Harrison JD, Palmer NRA, Cabrera A, Fleisher P, Wong E, LeSarre M, Grumbach K, Banta J, Tealer L, Reynolds A, Wassmann A, Rose T, Nguyen T. Addressing the challenges of conducting community-engaged research during COVID-19: Rapid development and evaluation of a COVID-19 Research Patient and Community Advisory Board (PCAB). J Clin Transl Sci. 2022; 6(1):e88.  View on PubMed
  7. Samuel Washington, Peter Lonergan, Janet Cowan, Shoujun Zhao, Scott Greenberg, Jenny Broering, Nynikka Palmer, Robert Parker, Alexander Bell, Matthew Cooperberg, Peter Carroll. MP28-10 10-YEAR OUTCOMES IN WORK LOSS, PHYSICAL FUNCTION, AND MENTAL HEALTH OF 6,693 MEN UNDERGOING PRIMARY TREATMENT FOR PROSTATE CANCER. Investigative Urology. 2022 May 1; 207(Supplement 5):e464.  View on PubMed
  8. Borno HT, Zhang L, Zhang S, Kaplan C, Palmer NR, Bell A, Bakke B, Lin A, Aggarwal R, Small EJ. Mobile Clinical Trial Matching Technology in Medical Oncology Clinic: A Pilot Feasibility Study. JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2022 05; 6:e2100182.  View on PubMed
  9. Hiatt RA, Sibley A, Venkatesh B, Cheng J, Dixit N, Fox R, Ling P, Nguyen T, Oh D, Palmer NR, Pasick RJ, Potter MB, Somsouk M, Vargas RA, Vijayaraghavan M, Ashworth A. From Cancer Epidemiology to Policy and Practice: the Role of a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Curr Epidemiol Rep. 2022; 9(1):10-21.  View on PubMed
  10. Hala T. Borno, Sylvia Zhang, Tracy Kuo Lin, Li Zhang, Nynikka R. Palmer, Christopher Nguyen, Celia Kaplan, Charles J. Ryan. Evaluating the impact of financial toxicity among cancer clinical trial participants. International Journal of Cancer Care and Delivery. 2022 Jan 3.  View on PubMed
  11. Esdaille AR, Ibilibor C, Holmes A, Palmer NR, Murphy AB. Access and Representation: A Narrative Review of the Disparities in Access to Clinical Trials and Precision Oncology in Black men with Prostate Cancer. Urology. 2022 05; 163:90-98.  View on PubMed
  12. Samuel Washington, Peter Lonergan, Janet Cowan, Shoujun Zhao, Scott Greenberg, Jeanette Broering, Nynikka Palmer, Robert Parker, Alexander Bell, Matthew Cooperberg, Peter Carroll. MP19-14 LONGITUDINAL ANALYSIS OF THE INDIRECT BURDEN OF PROSTATE CANCER TREATMENT ON PAID AND UNPAID WORK: DATA FROM CAPSURE. Investigative Urology. 2021 Sep 1; 206(Supplement 3).  View on PubMed
  13. Bell A, Lonergan PE, Escobar D, Fakunle M, Chu CE, Berdy S, Palmer NR, Breyer BN, Washington SL. A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Barriers Associated With Non-Attendance at a Urology Telehealth Clinic in a Safety-Net Hospital. Urology. 2022 04; 162:57-62.  View on PubMed
  14. Samuel L. Washington, Peter E. Lonergan, Janet E. Cowan, Shoujun Zhao, Scott Greenberg, Jeanette M. Broering, Nynikka R. Palmer, Matthew R. Cooperberg, Peter R. Carroll. Abstract 686: Longitudinal analysis of the indirect burden of prostate cancer management on paid and unpaid work: Data from CaPSURE database. Cancer Research. 2021 Jul 1; 81(13_Supplement):686-686.  View on PubMed
  15. Palmer NR, Borno HT, Gregorich SE, Livaudais-Toman J, Kaplan CP. Prostate cancer patients' self-reported participation in research: an examination of racial/ethnic disparities. Cancer Causes Control. 2021 Oct; 32(10):1161-1172.  View on PubMed
  16. Borno HT, Andemeskel G, Palmer NR. Redefining Attribution From Patient to Health System-How the Notion of "Mistrust" Places Blame on Black Patients. JAMA Oncol. 2021 05 01; 7(5):780.  View on PubMed
  17. Langlais CS, Graff RE, Van Blarigan EL, Palmer NR, Washington SL, Chan JM, Kenfield SA. Post-Diagnostic Dietary and Lifestyle Factors and Prostate Cancer Recurrence, Progression, and Mortality. Curr Oncol Rep. 2021 03 10; 23(3):37.  View on PubMed
  18. Elena Portacolone, Nynikka Palmer, Peter Lichtenberg, Catherine Waters, Carl Hill, Sahru Keiser, Julene K Johnson. Earning the Trust of African American Communities to Increase Representation in Dementia Research. Innovation in Aging. 2020 Dec 16; 4(Suppl 1):878-878.  View on PubMed
  19. Portacolone E, Palmer NR, Lichtenberg P, Waters CM, Hill CV, Keiser S, Vest L, Maloof M, Tran T, Martinez P, Guerrero J, Johnson JK. Earning the Trust of African American Communities to Increase Representation in Dementia Research. Ethn Dis. 2020; 30(Suppl 2):719-734.  View on PubMed
  20. Balakrishnan AS, Palmer NR, Odisho AY. "Can you hear me now?": postoperative patient-initiated communication with providers. Am J Manag Care. 2020 10 01; 26(10):e333-e341.  View on PubMed

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