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
  • 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
  • October 2, 2018 - May 14, 2021 - Accelerating Systematic Stakeholder, Patient, and Institution Research Engagement (ASPIRE) , Program Development and Evaluation . Sponsor: PCORI – Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Sponsor Award ID: 10566-UCSF


  • 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

Selected Publications

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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 May; 163:90-98.  View on PubMed
  5. 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
  6. 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 Apr; 162:57-62.  View on PubMed
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Zavala VA, Bracci PM, Carethers JM, Carvajal-Carmona L, Coggins NB, Cruz-Correa MR, Davis M, de Smith AJ, Dutil J, Figueiredo JC, Fox R, Graves KD, Gomez SL, Llera A, Neuhausen SL, Newman L, Nguyen T, Palmer JR, Palmer NR, Pérez-Stable EJ, Piawah S, Rodriquez EJ, Sanabria-Salas MC, Schmit SL, Serrano-Gomez SJ, Stern MC, Weitzel J, Yang JJ, Zabaleta J, Ziv E, Fejerman L. Cancer health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. Br J Cancer. 2021 01; 124(2):315-332.  View on PubMed
  14. Palmer NR, Shim JK, Kaplan CP, Schillinger D, Blaschko SD, Breyer BN, Pasick RJ. Ethnographic investigation of patient-provider communication among African American men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer: a study protocol. BMJ Open. 2020 08 05; 10(8):e035032.  View on PubMed
  15. Palmer NR, Avis NE, Fino NF, Tooze JA, Weaver KE. Rural cancer survivors' health information needs post-treatment. Patient Educ Couns. 2020 08; 103(8):1606-1614.  View on PubMed
  16. Kith G, Lisker S, Sarkar U, Barr-Walker J, Breyer BN, Palmer NR. Defining and Measuring Adherence in Observational Studies Assessing Outcomes of Real-world Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review. Eur Urol Oncol. 2021 04; 4(2):192-201.  View on PubMed
  17. Balakrishnan AS, Palmer NR, Fergus KB, Gaither TW, Baradaran N, Ndoye M, Breyer BN. Minority Recruitment Trends in Phase III Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials (2003 to 2014): Progress and Critical Areas for Improvement. J Urol. 2019 02; 201(2):259-267.  View on PubMed
  18. Borno HT, Lichtensztajn DY, Gomez SL, Palmer NR, Ryan CJ. Differential use of medical versus surgical androgen deprivation therapy for patients with metastatic prostate cancer. Cancer. 2019 02 01; 125(3):453-462.  View on PubMed
  19. Kaplan CP, Siegel A, Leykin Y, Palmer NR, Borno H, Bielenberg J, Livaudais-Toman J, Ryan C, Small EJ. A bilingual, Internet-based, targeted advertising campaign for prostate cancer clinical trials: Assessing the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of a novel recruitment strategy. Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2018 Dec; 12:60-67.  View on PubMed
  20. Palmer NR, Gregorich SE, Livaudais-Toman J, Jih J, Kaplan CP. Racial and Ethnic Differences in Prostate Cancer Survivors' Perceived Engagement in Treatment Decision-Making. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2018 12; 5(6):1273-1283.  View on PubMed

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