Centering Black Preterm Infant Caregiver Priorities Study

(Center and Care Study)


Our Goals



Connect with Black families of children who were born preterm in the Bay Area


Identify caregiver perspectives on (1) barriers and facilitators to positive child health and development at home & (2) best practices for the medical system to address social needs.


Use identified barriers, facilitators, and recommendations from caregivers to inform interventions in the NICU and primary care settings.


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Black families are at higher risk of preterm birth and its consequences compared to other groups. Even after Black infants are discharged home from the hospital, they continue to face increased risk of poor health outcomes compared to other groups. These differences are due to medical and societal racism. The Center and Care study hopes to interview 20 Black caregivers who have had preterm infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the Bay area in order to gain family perspectives about how the medical system and our society can best support the long-term health of Black preterm infants.


Join the Study


- The Black caregiver of a former preterm infant 

- Your child was born before 35 weeks gestation 

- Your child was admitted to a Bay Area NICU 

You are eligible to participate in this study! 


All families who complete an interview will receive a $100 gift card for their time

Questions? Email us at [email protected]
Follow us on Instagram at @centerandcareucsf

Join the study


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Our Team



Kayla Karvonen, MD, MAS

I am from Plymouth Minnesota. I'm a neonatology fellow physician (neonatal intensive care unit doctor) and I am the lead investigator of the CENTER & CARE study. I love reading science fiction and being active out in nature! My research focuses on how racism impacts families inside and outside of the NICU and how medical systems and society can address it, so that all families have the opportunity to thrive.

Patience Afulani, PhD, MD, MPH

I am from Ghana in West Africa, but lived in the US for over 14 years now. I am an Assistant Professor at UCSF and the principal investigator for the person-centered equity lab where I conduct research on the social and health system factors that contribute to inequities in reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health.



Erica Anunwah, MD

I’m from Santa Clarita Valley, and spent a significant portion of my life in San Diego. I’m a pediatric resident and hopeful future neonatologist interested in supporting the lives of black babies. In my free time I like to be a child at heart - reading fantasy/fiction, playing my Switch, or dancing!


Serena Gilmore, BS

I am originally from South Carolina. I am currently a second-year medical student at UCSF. My research interests include medical disparities, particularly those that affect the Black population, and ways to combat these disparities. Outside of research and school I enjoy exploring cities, baking, tap dancing, and going to comedy shows.


Ursula Griffiths-Randolph, MD, MPH

I am a 3rd yr pediatric resident at UCSF with a focus in health equity. I have a background in maternal & child health and am committed to improving the health of Black children & families. I have been involved in research addressing preterm birth & infant health in the US, Ghana, & Kenya. I also created “HUGS”, a podcast for Bay Area Black families to hear directly from Black pediatricians. Check it out!


Kobi Miller, BA

I earned a BA in psychology & minor in African-American studies from the Univ. San Francisco. I currently work as a Program Director at the Clay Street Resident Program providing mental treatment & social rehab support to the unhoused population. I’ve worked with UCSF for 3 yrs as a research assistant & coordinator for various projects at the Osher Center, Preterm Birth Initiative & Age, Metabolism and Emotions Center. I support projects serving Bay Area Black maternal communities & gather new findings around maternal mindfulness in healthcare & intend to apply for clinical psychology programs in the fall to become a clinician.


Dishon Moore, RN, BSN, PHN, NTMNC

I earned my Associate Degree in Nursing from St.Mary’s of the Plains College & Bachelors Degree in Nursing at Samuel Merrit University. I’m currently a NICU nurse at UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland & a member of the Neurodevelopmental Committee, so I provide primary care to infants who are premature, term, have congenital anomalies or need surgery. In 2018, I joined PCAB and PTBi CA RAP, a committee to hear NICU parents’ concerns & review research funding. Participating in the committee's research became my newfound passion. I became a certified Neonatal Touch Massage Nurse in 2019 & a certified Lactation Educator counselor in 2020. I joined the PTBi CAB in 2021. I also assisted with the implementation research trial at BCH-O: Mobile-enhanced Family Integrated Care to improve outcomes for preterm infants (PI: Franck). I enjoy kayaking and roller skating.


Josten Overall, MD, MPH

I am originally From Union City and I’m a 3rd year pediatric resident at UCSF. I am a former NICU baby (born at 32 weeks), and my birth story is a large part of why I decided to become a physician/pediatrician! Outside of work,I can be seen hanging out with family/friends, dancing, hiking, and playing the piano!



Lawren Wooten, MD, MS

I’m a NICU graduate (born at 28 weeks) originally from Washington, DC and a Black American descendant of enslaved people. I received my BS in Human Biology from Cornell University and MS in Integrative Medicine from George Washington University. I am currently a 2nd year pediatrics resident physician at UCSF. I am also an author, award-winning activist and semi-professional cellist. I hope to have a career caring for Black children, especially babies, and families in the DC area.