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URMC / Center for Community Health & Prevention / News & Events / Local Women Making a Difference in Community Health


Local Women Making a Difference in Community Health

Officially established in March 1987, Women’s History Month honors the contributions of women to events in history as well as present-day society.

Our Center is proud to recognize several rising leaders making a difference regionally in community health and health equity.

Susan Gasparino HeadshotSusan Gasparino, MD

Dr. Gasparino is passionate about partnering with children and their families to find practical opportunities to increase physical activity and supporting lifestyle choices that help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. She is a general pediatrician at Golisano Children's Hospital and became the director of Child and Adolescent Programming at the University of Rochester Medical Center's (URMC) Center for Community Health & Prevention (CCHP) in September 2023. 

She spoke about this topic as the keynote speaker of this year’s Anne E. Dyson Memorial Grand Rounds and Community Health Symposium, an annual event hosted by Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Hoekelman Center. Her presentation “Promoting Physical Fitness Opportunities for All Children” addressed how the social determinants of health impact a child’s ability to participate in physical activity. Dr. Gasparino invited a group of community partners making a difference in this space to present their work and network with others interested in ensuring equitable access to physical activity and play. Partners included the Rochester City School District, Healthi kids - a Common Ground Health initiative, Abilities Movement, Reconnect Rochester, the City of Rochester and Rochester Accessible Adventures. Dr. Gasparino is the Community Health Advisor to the Hoekelman Center.

One of Dr. Gasparino’s other areas of interest is in vaping cessation, especially with adolescents. She leads the new Vape Escape program at the CCHP, working virtually with youth ages 12 to 18 in a group setting where they are able to talk openly and casually about the negative and long-term impact of vaping on one’s health.

In her spare time, Dr. Gasparino enjoys spending time with her family, teaching Zumba and being a Girl Scout leader. She serves as an elected Board of Education member for a local public-school district, and she is also working on completing her master’s degree in public health at the University of Rochester and will graduate in August.

Thank you for your dedicated work in community health improvement and chronic disease prevention, Dr. Gasparino!

Laura Stamm, PhD

Laura StammLaura Stamm, PhD, is a rising changemaker in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the URMC. As the director of DEI for URMC’s Department of Medicine, Dr. Stamm leads and implements initiatives to promote health equity and diversity. She takes an intersectional approach to DEI and addresses community health priorities alongside faculty recruitment, retention, and professionalization. She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics at URMC, where she conducts health equity research using community-based participatory research and qualitative methods appropriate for research on marginalized communities' health needs. 

Dr. Stamm has played an integral role in the implementation of the URMC Equity & Anti-Racism Action Plan (EARAP), a five-year plan guided by five pillars  - “to build, recruit, nurture, exemplify, and engage in the work of being anti-racist.” She has used the EARAP framework to develop the DEI Pillar of the Department of Medicine Strategic Plan and Roadmap for the Department of Medicine DEI Council. Both of these plans aim to build a DEI infrastructure for the Department of Medicine to instill collective responsibility for DEI and improve health outcomes in the Rochester community. 

Dr. Stamm is also a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Equity Scholars for Action program, which exists to challenge biases and conventions in research and academia and supports early-career researchers from historically underrepresented backgrounds. Dr. Stamm's research focuses broadly on LGBTQ+ health, transgender studies, and medicine in visual culture. Her work appears in several academic journals, including Synapsis: A Health Humanities Journal, Alphaville, MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture, Spectator, and TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. Dr. Stamm also published her first book The Queer Biopic in the AIDS Era in 2022 with Oxford University Press.

During her downtime, Dr. Stamm loves to go on walks with her two rescue dogs, garden in her backyard and watercolor paint.

Thank you, Dr. Stamm, for moving the needle on community health and gender equity in our region, and beyond!  

Tracy Webber, DNP, CNM, MPA, FACNM

Webber headshotTracy Webber, DNP, CNM, MPA, FACNM, has worked as a staff nurse on mother-baby, antepartum/high-risk obstetric and labor and delivery units, in a private practice as a midwife, as well as in hospital-based midwifery services.

Dr. Webber is now the director of the Midwifery Group at the URMC, the first Black woman in the role. She returned to the Yale School of Nursing where she completed her RN certification (2002) and master’s degree in midwifery (2003), to complete her doctor of nursing practice degree in May 2019.

Dr. Webber also served on the board of Rochester's Healthy Baby Network and the nominating committee of the New York Midwives. Currently, she serves on the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists’ Committee for Advancing Equity in Obstetric and Gynecologic Health, the NYS Perinatal Association, the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group, and has been actively involved in activities throughout NYS related to eliminating racial disparities in women’s and maternal health.

Throughout the years, patients have sang Dr. Webber’s praises, commenting on her compassion, friendliness and level of expertise. “Tracy Webber is THE BEST provider I've ever had for my OB/GYN needs and I'm so glad she is part of the practice,” wrote one patient. “She is compassionate, truly listens, is very friendly, and is medically knowledgeable.” “Tracy has become my favorite midwife and I pray she is there when I deliver,” shared another. “She is sweet, caring, knowledgeable, and clearly loves her job. She's wonderful and I really felt reassured and comforted after seeing her.”

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter and cats, traveling, cooking, doing arts and crafts and concert-going. Dr. Webber is also very active with her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Psi Omega Zeta Chapter. 

Thank you, Dr. Webber, for all you do for patients, and the active difference you’re making in women’s health and maternal health in Rochester!

Corey Nichols-Hadeed, JD

Corey Nichols-HadeedCorey Nichols-Hadeed, JD, has made a difference in the field of psychiatry exploring the impact of policy and law on health outcomes, with a focus on patient safety across the lifespan. She is an assistant professor of Psychiatry at URMC and is an active member of the Rochester Youth Violence Partnership, URMC Firearm Injury Prevention Workgroup, Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization, and the Office of Health Equity Research’s Gun Violence Prevention Workgroup. This work is centered on the importance of interdisciplinary and community collaboration.

In addition, Ms. Nichols-Hadeed is co-director of the URMC Firearm Injury Prevention Program with Jennifer West, PhD, educational leader in the Department of Psychiatry. Medical Center-wide, the program currently partners with the Department of Psychiatry, Kessler Trauma Center, the Social Work Division, and continues to expand to other departments and divisions.

The mission of the Firearm Injury Prevention Program is to significantly reduce the incidence of injury and death due to firearms (assaults, homicides, suicide, unintentional injury, death) in the Rochester region through prevention, intervention, education and research informed by, and in partnership with, community members. To accomplish this mission, the program focuses on improving firearm storage practices as a modifiable health risk factor through health care provider and community education, training and support. The Firearm Injury Prevention Program also aims to facilitate prevention and intervention through community agency partnerships across the region.

When not engaged in this work, Ms. Nichols-Hadeed likes to read, walk with friends and spend time with her family.

Thank you for your tireless commitment to your work and firearm injury prevention in our region!

Jahaira Capellan, PhD, MS, RN, FNP-BC

JahairaJahaira Capellan, PhD, MS, RN, FNP-BC, is a family nurse practitioner and researcher with interest and expertise in a variety of areas, including childhood obesity, measurement adaptation, and advocating for language access. Dr. Capellan is passionate about treating the whole patient and the prevention of chronic disease in our communities.

Dr. Capellan participated in “HERE WE ARE!,” a writing initiative launched last June by the Office of Health Equity (OHER) that stands for “Health Equity Research Efforts (HERE) to encourage collaboration: Writing Engagement And Restaurant Encounters (WE ARE)!” Each month, OHER identified a manuscript submission opportunity and provided a weekly space for investigators to share ideas, co-author papers and other scholarship, and work alongside each other. Dr. Capellan collaborated with Steve Cook, MD, MPH, pediatrician and associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, and team to analyze some of the outcome data of Dr. Cook’s TEAM UP evidence-based intervention to treat children with obesity. TEAM UP is a multi-site randomized pragmatic trial delivered in primary care.

This collaboration has resulted in an accepted poster abstract led by Academic General Pediatrics and Primary Care Research Fellow Shaelise Torr, PhD, entitled “Parent Mental Health, Child Emotional Health, & Household Environment within a Family-Based Behavioral Obesity Treatment Trial” for the Pediatric Academic Societies 2024 meeting. The team is continuing to collaborate on several manuscripts, as well as working on translating and culturally adapting the TEAM UP intervention for use with Latino families in the Greater Rochester area.

Dr. Capellan was recognized by the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry last fall with the Office of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs’ Postdoctoral Appointee Award for Excellence in Equity and Inclusion for her outstanding efforts to advance equity and inclusion, through her research and professional practice. At that time, she was a UR Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) TL1 Population Health Research Postdoctoral Fellow conducting a mixed-methods study to research the role of parenting behaviors, styles and feeding practices of Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican parents and their relationship to their children’s appetitive traits, food consumption, and weight status and how these practices might help prevent chronic disease development.

Her project “Puerto Rican Parent-child Feeding Interactions: Relationship to Child’s Dietary Intake,” was also recognized for this work with a mini-grant from the Center for Community Health & Prevention and CTSI. The knowledge gained from this project will provide a starting point for the creation and evaluation of culturally relevant interventions, if needed, to reduce and/or limit unhealthy dietary intake and subsequent obesity and health conditions in Puerto Rican children.

Outside of work, Dr. Capellan enjoys spending time with friends, family, her boyfriend, and their two dogs. She and her boyfriend really enjoy going on nature walks and stopping for gelato in the summer time and playing video games (when her competitive side shows) in the winter season. 

Thank you, Dr. Capellan, for your dedication to your patients, your research and to advancing equity and inclusion in our community, and beyond!