Nynikka Palmer, DrPH, MPH

Associate Professor

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.
Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2013 - Cancer Survivorship, Wake Forest School of Medicine
DrPH, 2010 - School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center
MPH, 2002 - Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
BS, 2000 - , Morgan State University
Honors and Awards
  • Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program Award., National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, 2021-2023
  • School of Medicine Inaugural Class of Dean’s Population Health and Healthy Equity (PHHE) Scholars, University of California San Francisco, 2018
  • Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program, National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, 2016-2017
  • CTSI KL2 Scholar Award, University of California San Francisco, 2016-2017
  • Helen Diller Family Chair in Community Education and Outreach for Urologic Cancer, University of California San Francisco, 2016
  • Center for Aging in Diverse Communities Scholar Award, University of California San Francisco, 2015-2016
  • Distinguished Honoree of the Black Student Health Alliance - 2nd Annual African Heritage Celebration, University of California San Francisco, 2015
  • Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities - National Institutes of Health, 2013-2015
Custom Faculty Group
  1. James Nie, Nynikka R. Palmer, Rena J. Pasick, Maria Byron, Claire M. de la Calle, Samuel L. Washington, Coleen Kivlahan, Michael B. Potter, Matthew Cooperberg. PD19-05 SMARTER SCREENING AND TREATMENT (S3T): MITIGATING HARM VIA AGE- & BASELINE-PROSTATE SPECIFIC ANTIGEN-STRATIFIED SCREENING. Journal of Urology 2024. PMID:

  2. Andemeskel G, Palmer NR, Pasick R, Van Blarigan EL, Kenfield SA, Graff RE, Shaw M, Yu W, Sanchez M, Hernandez R, Washington SL, Shariff-Marco S, Rhoads KF, Chan JM. Engaging communities to inform the development of a diverse cohort of cancer survivors: formative research for the eat move sleep study (EMOVES). Research involvement and engagement 2023. PMID: 38082391

  3. Courtney Lyles, Beth Berrean, Ana Buenaventura, Svetlana Milter, Dayana Daniel Hernandez, Urmimala Sarkar, Christian Gutierrez, Nynikka Palmer, William Brown. Building a Client Resource and Communication Platform for Community-Based Organizations: Co-Design to Address Health and Social Needs (Preprint). JMIR human factors 2023. PMID:

  4. 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 medicine 2023. PMID: 37724617

  5. 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. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities 2023. PMID: 37341950

  6. 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. European urology oncology 2023. PMID: 36710133

  7. Borowsky HM, Willis A, Bullock JL, Fuentes-Afflick E, Palmer NRA. Opportunities and challenges in discussing racism during primary care visits. Health services research 2022. PMID: 36524295

  8. 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. Systematic reviews 2022. PMID: 35701771

  9. 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). Journal of Clinical and Translational Science 2022. PMID: 35989858

  10. 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. PMID:

  11. 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. 2015 Year Book of Pediatrics. Ed. Cabana MD. (Elsevier; Philadelphia, PA) 2022. PMID: 35584338

  12. 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. 2015 Year Book of Pediatrics. Ed. Cabana MD. (Elsevier; Philadelphia, PA) 2022. PMID: 35342686

  13. 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. PMID:

  14. Esdaille AR, Ibilibor C, Ii AH, 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. 2015 Year Book of Pediatrics. Ed. Cabana MD. (Elsevier; Philadelphia, PA) 2021. PMID: 34582887

  15. 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. PMID:

  16. 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 2021. PMID: 34461145

  17. 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. PMID:

  18. 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 : CCC 2021. PMID: 34189651

  19. 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. Current oncology reports 2021. PMID: 33689041

  20. 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. PMID:

  21. 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. Ethnicity & disease 2020. PMID: 33250619

  22. Balakrishnan AS, Palmer NR, Odisho AY. "Can you hear me now?": postoperative patient-initiated communication with providers. The American journal of managed care 2020. PMID: 33094946

  23. 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. British journal of cancer 2020. PMID: 32901135

  24. 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. PMID: 32759241

  25. Nynikka R. Palmer, Richard L. Street, Dean Schillinger, Janet K. Shim, Sarah D. Blaschko, Benjamin N. Breyer, Rena J. Pasick. Abstract A047: An ethnographic study of African American men's prostate cancer treatment decision-making. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2020. PMID:

  26. Palmer NR, Avis NE, Fino NF, Tooze JA, Weaver KE. Rural cancer survivors' health information needs post-treatment. Patient education and counseling 2020. PMID: 32147307

  27. 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. European urology oncology 2019. PMID: 31288992

  28. 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. The Journal of urology 2019. PMID: 30218761

  29. 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 2018. PMID: 30444526

  30. 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. Contemporary clinical trials communications 2018. PMID: 30272035

  31. 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. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities 2018. PMID: 29516434

  32. Hiatt RA, Sibley A, Fejerman L, Glantz S, Nguyen T, Pasick R, Palmer N, Perkins A, Potter MB, Somsouk M, Vargas RA, van 't Veer LJ, Ashworth A. The San Francisco Cancer Initiative: A Community Effort To Reduce The Population Burden Of Cancer. Health affairs (Project Hope) 2018. PMID: 29309234

  33. Beebe-Dimmer JL, Yee C, Paskett E, Schwartz AG, Lane D, Palmer NRA, Bock CH, Nassir R, Simon MS. Family history of prostate and colorectal cancer and risk of colorectal cancer in the Women's health initiative. BMC cancer 2017. PMID: 29237415

  34. Osterberg EC, Palmer NRA, Harris CR, Murphy GP, Blaschko SD, Chu C, Allen IE, Cooperberg MR, Carroll PR, Breyer BN. Outcomes of men on active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer at a safety-net hospital. Urologic oncology 2017. PMID: 28826701

  35. E. Charles Osterberg, Nynikka Palmer, Catherine Harris, Gregory Murphy, Sarah Blaschko, Carissa Chu, Matthew Cooperberg, Peter Carroll, Benjamin Breyer. MP14-02 THE NATURAL HISTORY OF MEN ON ACTIVE SURVEILLANCE WITH LOW-RISK PROSTATE CANCER AT A SAFETY-NET, COUNTY HOSPITAL. The Journal of urology 2017. PMID:

  36. Nynikka R.A. Palmer, Steven Gregorich, Jennifer Livaudais-Toman, Celia Kaplan. Abstract A53: Racial and ethnic disparities in prostate cancer survivors' perceived engagement in treatment decision making. Behavioral and Social Science 2017. PMID:

  37. Palmer NR, Weaver KE, Hauser SP, Lawrence JA, Talton J, Case LD, Geiger AM. Disparities in barriers to follow-up care between African American and White breast cancer survivors. Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer 2015. PMID: 25821145

  38. Beebe-Dimmer JL, Yee C, Cote ML, Petrucelli N, Palmer N, Bock C, Lane D, Agalliu I, Stefanick ML, Simon MS. Familial clustering of breast and prostate cancer and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in the Women's Health Initiative Study. Cancer 2015. PMID: 25754547

  39. Palmer NR, Kent EE, Forsythe LP, Arora NK, Rowland JH, Aziz NM, Blanch-Hartigan D, Oakley-Girvan I, Hamilton AS, Weaver KE. Racial and ethnic disparities in patient-provider communication, quality-of-care ratings, and patient activation among long-term cancer survivors. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2014. PMID: 25403220

  40. Kathryn E. Weaver, Nancy Avis, Nynikka Palmer, Nora Fitzgerald, Janet Tooze. Abstract A62: Post-treatment follow-up care and health-related information needs among rural breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer survivors. Behavioral and Social Science 2014. PMID:

  41. Nynikka Palmer, Kathryn Weaver, Sally Hauser, Jennifer Talton, L. Douglas Case, Julia Lawrence, Kimberly Dezern, Ann Geiger. Abstract C35: Racial disparities in barriers to follow-up care among breast cancer survivors. Cancer Treatment and Outcomes 2014. PMID:

  42. Palmer NR, Geiger AM, Lu L, Case LD, Weaver KE. Impact of rural residence on forgoing healthcare after cancer because of cost. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology 2013. PMID: 24097196

  43. Palmer NR, Geiger AM, Felder TM, Lu L, Case LD, Weaver KE. Racial/Ethnic disparities in health care receipt among male cancer survivors. American journal of public health 2013. PMID: 23678936

  44. Weaver KE, Palmer N, Lu L, Case LD, Geiger AM. Rural-urban differences in health behaviors and implications for health status among US cancer survivors. Cancer causes & control : CCC 2013. PMID: 23677333

  45. Palmer NR, Bartholomew LK, McCurdy SA, Basen-Engquist KM, Naik AD. Transitioning from active treatment: colorectal cancer survivors' health promotion goals. Palliative & supportive care 2012. PMID: 23089464

  46. Nynikka R.A. Palmer, Neeraj K. Arora, Erin Kent, Laura Forsythe, Julia H. Rowland, Noreen Aziz, Kathryn E. Weaver. Abstract PR07: Racial-ethnic disparities in patient-provider communication and overall perceptions of follow-up care quality among adult cancer survivors. Behavioral and Social Science 2012. PMID:

  47. Palmer NR, Tooze JA, Turner AR, Xu J, Avis NE. African American prostate cancer survivors' treatment decision-making and quality of life. Patient education and counseling 2012. PMID: 22940374

  48. Naik AD, Palmer N, Petersen NJ, Street RL, Rao R, Suarez-Almazor M, Haidet P. Comparative effectiveness of goal setting in diabetes mellitus group clinics: randomized clinical trial. Archives of internal medicine 2011. PMID: 21403042

  49. Felder TM, Palmer NR, Lal LS, Mullen PD. What is the evidence for pharmaceutical patient assistance programs? A systematic review. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved 2011. PMID: 21317504