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Internal Action Committee (IAC)

The CRTEC Internal Action Committee (IAC) is a multidisciplinary team that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion across all aspects of academic and research environments at our cancer center. The committee comprises esteemed professionals from psychology, nursing, internal medicine, biological sciences, and community engagement. United in its mission, the IAC supports underrepresented groups, enhances educational and research opportunities, and addresses systemic inequities. By promoting interdisciplinary collaboration, community engagement, and innovative educational programs, the IAC strives to create an inclusive and supportive environment. These efforts aim to improve access to cancer care, advance cutting-edge research, and support the well-being of all participants, particularly those from historically marginalized backgrounds. Meet our members and learn more about their impactful work and commitment to driving positive change within our cancer center and beyond.

Susan Waltz, PhD – CRTEC AD & IAC Chair

Steven Kniffley, PsyD became senior associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience in May of 2023. A member of the Dean’s Cabinet, Dr. Kniffley is a child, adolescent and family psychologist specializing in working with Black male youth by providing spaces of evidence-informed and culturally humble healing for racial trauma, anger and aggression, and racialized masculinity exploration and development. He also conducts research into youth racial trauma, with a focus on developing clinical interventions and assessments for the treatment of racial trauma in Black, Indigenous and people of color youth. Dr. Kniffley, in collaboration with the CRTEC leadership, ensures diversity, equity and inclusion across all of the center’s efforts.

Karen Bankston, PhD Dr. Bankston has over 12 years of experience at the University of Cincinnati as a Professor in the College of Nursing. She is now Professor Emerita and is an accomplished leader having worked in academia, acute care, long-term acute care hospitals, as well as skilled nursing, assisted living and higher education organizations. Dr. Bankston specializes in management consulting, equity and inclusion, community liaison, professional practice models and clinical quality improvement. 


Vladamir Bogdanov, PhD Dr. Bogdanov is an Associate Professor and Director of the Hemostatsis Research Program, Internal Medicine at the UCCOM. Dr. Bogdanov's laboratory is currently focused on the contribution of alternatively spliced Tissue Factor to the progression of solid malignancies, most prominently pancreatic cancer adenocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. His post-graduate T-32 training program trains cancer-focused postdoctoral researchers and clinical research fellows to become successful translational investigators, inventors, and clinical trialists. 


M.K. Lamkin, PhD Dr. Lamkin is an Associate Professor and holds a PhD in Biological Sciences. MK is the Program Director for Undergraduate Research at the University of Cincinnati. She works closely with faculty, staff, administrators, and students to develop resources and systems aimed at broadening undergraduate participation in all forms of research activity. Her work focuses not only on expanding the overall number of participants across disciplines in research but also on expanding the proportion of participants from groups historically excluded from research professions. 


Whitney Gaskins, PhD Dr. Gaskins is the Associate Dean in the College of Engineering, and she serves as an Assistant Professor in the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Gaskins is the founder of a non-profit organization that provides STEM education opportunities for underrecognized and under-represented youth. The Gaskins Foundation is devoted to presenting, engaging and preparing students of all ages to become leaders in STEM by using algebra, programming and design concepts. STEMulates offers a variety of programs such as STEMulating Saturdays, Young Steministas, Scholars Plus, the Roadmap to STEM Institute (RSI) and STEMulating summer camps. 


Lisa Privette Vinnedge, PhD Dr. Privette Vinnedge is the Director of Postdoctoral Affairs for Cincinnati Children’s (CCHMC) and Associate Professor in the UC Department of Pediatrics. She is responsible for the recruitment and retention of postdoctoral research fellows and also supports their overall career development. As a discovery scientist, Dr. Privette Vinnedge studies the intersection of genetics and cancer biology. Her research areas involve finding the molecular and cellular drivers of mammary gland development and breast cancer progression. Her laboratory concentrates on the DEK oncogene and how it functions in DNA repair and transcription. 


Uma Sivasprasad, PhD Dr. Sivaprasad is an Assistant Professor in the UC Department of Pediatrics. She joined the Division of Asthma Research to develop statins as an alternative to steroids as an anti-inflammatory therapy in asthma and allergic diseases. She has an interest in elucidating the role of serine protease inhibitors in allergic pathophysiology. Dr. Sivasprasad has served as the first author or co-author on eight peer-reviewed publications. She also leads the effort to recruit postdocs to Cincinnati Children’s (CCHMC) through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. 


Melinda Butsch Kovacic, MPH, PhD is a Professor and Associate Dean of Research for the University of Cincinnati (UC)’s College of Allied Health Sciences. She is also a Professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and in the Department of Pediatrics at UC’s College of Medicine. In 2022, she was appointed as the Associate Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at the University of Cancer Center. She is also the Program Director for the Cancer Research Scholars Program, a 5-year NCI-funded program that offers cancer research experiences to 22 undergraduates. In addition, her We Engage 4 Health (WE4H) program is funded by a National Institute of General Medical Sciences Science Education Program Award (SEPA) and features community-co-designed, graphic-style stories and engaging learning experiences focused on health science, research, and citizen science for children, teens and adults. Programming is structured around the RAP concept (Recognize, Ask, Promote) and includes Health is Happenin’ RAP sessions, Citizen Science RAP sessions, the Eyewitness Community Survey, and community-partnered RAP for Community Health Days. 


Laura Hildreth, MA is a Program Director for the Center for Improvement Science (CIS) at the University of Cincinnati. Her focus is on the facilitation and support of collaborative projects, especially those that involve academic-community partnerships, cross-disciplinary partnerships, and those that help to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity across institutional partners.


Jackie Knapke, PhD is a Research Assistant Professor who graduated from the University of Cincinnati with her doctorate in Higher Education Policy and Reform in 2015. She was an Associate Director of the Translational Workforce Development program within the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST) and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine within the Research Division at the University of Cincinnati.

Contact Us

University of Cincinnati
Cancer Center

231 Albert Sabin Way, Suite 2005
Cincinnati, OH 45267
Phone: 513-558-2177
Fax: 513-558-2666