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Cendrine D. Robinson selected as NIDCD’s first chief diversity officer

 Cendrine D. Robinson

The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is pleased to announce the appointment of Cendrine D. Robinson, Ph.D., M.P.H., as NIDCD’s first chief diversity officer. Dr. Robinson joins NIDCD from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where she served as a scientific program officer and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) chair.

“Expanding diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within NIDCD’s workforce has been a priority for me since I began leading the institute in 2019,” said NIDCD Director Debara L. Tucci, M.D., M.S., M.B.A. “I am thrilled that our ongoing and future efforts will be championed by such an accomplished and forward-thinking chief diversity officer.”

Dr. Robinson is an expert in developing and leading programs to promote diversity in research. At the VA, Dr. Robinson led the development of a DEI strategy for the Office of Research and Development. As part of this strategy, she developed and executed initiatives to promote health equity and to expand the pipeline of researchers from historically excluded groups. Dr. Robinson also co-directed the implementation of summer research programs in 21 VA medical centers. In addition, she led the preparation of budget justifications to be delivered to the U.S. Congress, developed policy recommendations, forged strategic partnerships, and created and managed a stakeholder advisory board. She developed funding announcements for diversity research supplements, analyzed minority health and health equity research portfolios to identify gaps in knowledge, and managed a portfolio of research on behavioral health and social re-integration.

Dr. Robinson also has extensive experience in project management and biomedical behavioral research. Before joining the VA, Dr. Robinson was a research fellow and project manager for the initiative at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (NCI). At NCI, she conducted multiple research projects aimed at improving smoking cessation outcomes for adolescents and African American smokers by focusing on access and engagement. Dr. Robinson initiated the collection of race and ethnicity data for NCI’s Smokefreetxt—a text messaging service for people who are ready to quit smoking—and conducted the first analysis of Smokefreetxt outcomes among African American smokers. In addition to her research responsibilities, Dr. Robinson served as a project officer tasked with planning, advising, and evaluating program activities to support a research portfolio.

Dr. Robinson received a bachelor’s degree in brain and cognitive sciences from the University of Rochester. She received a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in medical and clinical psychology from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences as well as a master’s degree in public health– quantitative methods from Harvard School of Public Health. In addition, Dr. Robinson was a psychology resident and research fellow at the Edward Hines Jr, VA Hospital, in Hines, Illinois. She has served as Health Equity Ambassador for the American Psychological Association and in leadership roles for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

“Dr. Robinson’s expertise makes her ideally suited to serve as our first chief diversity officer. I look forward to working directly with her to advance NIDCD’s commitment to building and sustaining a diverse research workforce,” said Dr. Tucci.

Dr. Robinson formally assumes the duties of her new role on September 12.

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