Ramirez-Valles tapped to lead SF State’s Health Equity Institute
Jesus Ramirez-Valles, a public health leader, scholar, author and filmmaker, joins San Francisco State University as director of the Health Equity Institute (HEI). He will begin in this role on August 20.
Ramirez-Valles is recognized for his expertise on health equity and global health issues. He has spent more than 20 years in academia leading educational programs, recruiting and mentoring faculty and doctoral students and, most recently, chairing the department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health, one of the top urban, minority-serving research institutions in the country.
Over the course of his career, he has received millions of dollars in research funding for studies on health inequality. Most recently he became a co-principal investigator of the Center for Health Equity Research at the University of Illinois-Chicago and University of Chicago, a National Institutes of Health-funded Center of Excellence, to look at structural violence and how it creates or sustains health inequalities among ethnic, racial, sex and gender minorities.
As director of HEI, Ramirez-Valles will lead a multidisciplinary team whose work encompasses research, community practice, training and education, and communications. The institute pursues original research to understand and implement pathways to health equity; partners with communities to understand and address critical barriers to health equity; provides support to SF State faculty and students to explore health equity research; and creates multimedia communications tools that speak the voices of communities and inspire change for health equity.
Alvin Alvarez, dean of the College of Health & Social Sciences, said, “Dr. Ramirez-Valles is a pivotal hire, not only for the Health Equity Institute, but also for the larger SF State community. He brings a potent combination of advocacy, scholarship and leadership that I believe will be transformative in expanding the already sizable impact of HEI.”
Born in Mexico, Ramirez-Valles, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico and earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in public health from the University of Michigan. His life’s work has centered on critical health issues in the U.S. and abroad ranging from reproductive health, substance abuse to HIV prevention and economic development with women, youth and LGBT populations. He is a well-published researcher and currently editor-in-chief of the journal Health Education & Behavior and was previously editor-in-chief of Health Promotion Practice. He has received awards from the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies and private foundations.
Ramirez-Valles is the author of the award-winning book, “Compañeros: Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS,” and the book “Queer Aging: The Gayby Boomers and the new Frontier in Gerontology.” He is also the creator of a documentary, “Tal Como Somos/Just As We Are,” about the lives of Latino gay men, transgender persons and people living with HIV/AIDS. He was named one of the “Top Gay Latino Activists who Have Broken Boundaries” by the Huffington Post.
“I am very excited to come back to this wonderful city,” Ramirez-Valles said, noting that he worked in San Francisco in 1991 for his master of public health internship. “I am honored to join the faculty, staff, and students of the Health Equity Institute and am looking forward to realizing our collective potential. I am sure we will do our best to advance the mission of San Francisco State and collaborate with communities and organizations across the city towards achieving health equity.”