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Advancing Translational Science in Rural Health Research

The UNYTE Virtual Scientific Session - Advancing Translational Science in Rural Health Research on November 1, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. will bring together researchers from across New York State to explore innovative strategies for overcoming barriers to the participation of rural populations in health research.

The event will highlight:

  • Rural health research
  • Digital health technologies and teleresearch
  • Extending the reach of studies to engage rural populations

Zoom captioning will be available. Other accommodations, such as ASL interpreters, can be requested at the registration link. Please register by October 24, 2023 to ensure availability.


Register for the event via REDCap here.


9 a.m. | Welcome and Opening Remarks
Gary Noronha, MD of UNYTE and Martin Zand, MD, PhD of UR CTSI

9:10 | Keynote Speech and Q&A: Transformative Rural Health
Presented by Xinzhi Zhang, MD, PhD, FACE, Chief of Health Inequities and Global Health Branch at the Center for Translational Research and Implementation Science at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health

9:40 | Presentations followed by Q&A

  • Kristin Pullyblank, PhD, RN | Research Investigator at Bassett Research Institute, Bassett Healthcare Network
  • Dillon Dzikowicz, PhD, RN, PCCN | Assistant Professor, Nursing, University of Rochester
  • Ekaterina (Katia) Noyes PhD, MPH | Associate Dean for Translational and Team Sciences, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University at Buffalo 

10:25 | Breakout Rooms

  • Digital and Teleresearch
  • Overcoming Barriers to Rural Research
  • TBA

10:55 - Wrap Up and Closing Remarks by Gary Noronha, MD, UNYTE Director

Keynote Speaker: Xinzhi Zhang, MD, PhD, FACEXinzhi Zhang portrait

Xinzhi Zhang, MD, PhD, FACE, is the Chief of Health Inequities and Global Health Branch at the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He also serves as the Scientific Program Director of Community Engagement Technical Assistance Center (CETAC) and Research Workstream Co-lead of NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) to provide trustworthy, science-based information through active community engagement and outreach to the people hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in 21 states and territories.

Dr. Zhang has broad research interests that include clinical epidemiology, health services research, data science, health informatics, and their applications to promote health equity nationally and globally. He is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, an elite group of public health leaders who respond to national health crises.

Before joining NHLBI, Dr. Zhang was a program director in the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Division of Clinical Innovation, where he managed a portfolio of Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA), including overseeing the CTSA National Center for Data to Health (CD2H). During the COVID-19 pandemic, CD2H initiated National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C), the first-ever nationally centralized electronic medical record data openly accessible for the clinical and research community to use for studying COVID-19 and for identifying potential treatments. Dr. Zhang was the NCATS lead on rural health and health equity and Co-Chaired the NIH Rural Health Interest Group. He was also the lead for the diversity and re-entry research supplements program.

Throughout his career, Dr. Zhang has received many honors and awards from NIH, CDC, AHRQ, American Public Health Association, and Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, including Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service, 4 NIH Director’s awards, 2 Presidential Unit Citations, and 3 Outstanding Service Medals. Dr. Zhang received his M.D. from Peking Union Medical College in 1998 and his Ph.D. in health services administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2003.