Four Faculty Diversity Scholars named at the School of Medicine

Four faculty have been recruited to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis through its Faculty Diversity Scholars Program.

The program was established in 2005 to promote a broad diversity within the School of Medicine community and to enhance recruitment and retention of highly qualified underrepresented minority faculty.

Scholars receive three years of partial salary support and funding to offset start-up costs for their research careers. Thirteen scholars have been recruited since the program’s inception, says Diana L. Gray, MD, associate dean for faculty affairs and professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of radiology.

The Faculty Diversity Scholars are Cristina de Guzman Strong, PhD; Alexandra Gutierrez, MD; Jerry Jaboin, MD, PhD; and Allison Wright Willis, MD.

“As we strive for diversity among our student body, we also strive for diversity among our faculty,” says Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “We welcome Cristina, Alexandra, Jerry and Allison — outstanding young scholars who will bring their own unique experiences to our students, patients, faculty and community.”

The four scholars were selected by the Faculty Diversity Committee, co-chaired by Consuelo Wilkins, MD, associate professor of medicine and of psychiatry, and Gray, and composed of 10 faculty, two staff and the co-presidents of the Student National Medical Association.

“The Faculty Diversity Committee and I are pleased to welcome these four outstanding new faculty members,” Gray says. “Through the Faculty Diversity Scholarships, it is our privilege to assist them at the inception of their School of Medicine careers.”

De Guzman Strong will join the Department of Medicine Aug. 1 as an assistant professor in the Division of Dermatology. De Guzman Strong has been a postdoctoral fellow at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) since 2003. She earned a doctorate in human genetics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

de Guzman Strong

De Guzman Strong’s research focuses on the Epidermal Differentiation Complex locus and its role in epidermal barrier formation. Her lab will be within the Center of Pharmacogenetics.

De Guzman Strong is the primary investigator on a five-year Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Gutierrez joined the faculty April 1 in the Department of Medicine as an assistant professor in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Most recently, she was an assistant professor in the gastroenterology division at the University of Alabama Medical Center and co-director of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Clinical Research Program.


Gutierrez earned a master’s in public health at Harvard University School of Public Health in 2006 and a medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She completed a residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and a gastroenterology clinical research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Gutierrez’s research and clinical practice focuses on inflammatory bowel disease and its impact on underrepresented minorities. She is working on 10 industry-sponsored clinical trials.

Gutierrez is a member of the Underrepresented Minorities and the Training and Education committees for the American Gastroenterological Association.


Jaboin will join the faculty in the Division of Radiation Oncology July 1 as an assistant professor.

He is completing a radiation oncology residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and is an American Board of Radiology Holman Research Pathway Fellow, a program that allows radiation oncology residents to expand their research training while providing rigorous and accelerated clinical training.

He earned a medical degree and a doctorate through a joint program between Howard University College of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, where he conducted research in molecular biology.

In 2009, Jaboin was chief resident of radiation oncology at Vanderbilt. He has published seven peer-reviewed journal articles.

His research interest is in elucidating the functional role of the Tropomyosin Receptor Kinase (TRK) receptor and TRK receptor signaling in neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid tumor of childhood.

Wright Willis joined the faculty in the Department of Neurology July 1, 2009, as an assistant professor.

Wright Willis

Previously, she was a clinical instructor in neurology and chief resident of the Department of Neurology. She completed an internship, residency and a fellowship at the School of Medicine and earned a medical degree from the University of Illinois.

Her research focuses on movement disorders, particularly Parkinson’s disease. She uses a geographic information system tool to determine the associations between Parkinson’s disease and environmental toxins and has produced compelling data regarding the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease associated with community-level environmental exposures.