Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine Professional Achievement “WISDM” Award

Passion and commitment. These words come up repeatedly when students and colleagues describe Saba Masho, M.D., MPH, DrPH. Dr. Masho is Professor of Epidemiology in the VCU Departments of Family Medicine and Population Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Psychology; her work focuses on maternal and child health epidemiology.

Dr. Masho came to VCU in 2001 and serves as PI for multiple federally funded research projects in the areas of perinatal health, youth violence prevention and provision of comprehensive care to underserved families. She has completed projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Richmond City Health Department, and Virginia Premier and has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, monographs, and book chapters. A popular speaker, Dr. Masho has given over 200 invited presentations at the local and national level.

Dr. Masho is Graduate Programs Director for the Division of Epidemiology, overseeing the MPH and PhD programs. She directs Community Engaged Research at the VCU Institute for Women’s Health, a federally designated National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. Dr. Masho is a very popular mentor, formally mentoring over 80 graduate students, medical students, and medical residents, and 20 PhD students as dissertation chair or committee member.

At the VCU Institute of Women’s Health, Dr. Masho is responsible for developing a research agenda to guide community-based women’s health research at VCU, establishing and building collaboration with community based organizations to foster research, working with faculty to identify funding opportunities, and mentoring junior faculty in community based research.

Mentee Patricia Kinser, PhD, WHNP-BC, RN, Assistant Professor, VCU School of Nursing, states “She is gifted in her ability to explain a complicated research methodology in a simplified way to make data analysis methods seem uncomplicated to those without her extensive epidemiology/statistics background.”

Dr. Masho has maintained a significant formal teaching schedule, offering graduate and medical student courses on grant writing, epidemiology, global and population health, violence prevention, and perinatal health. She also serves as MPH practicum and PhD directed research faculty. She has received 11 teaching awards for teaching MPH, PhD, and MD students in Epidemiology and in the MD Curriculum.

Dr. Masho’s commitment to service is significant, from HRSA Consultant and Evaluation Consultant for projects in New York City, to participating in the CDC Technical Working Group and Youth Violence Prevention Alcohol Control Workgroup, and the HRSA National Health Start Evaluation Panel. She is a board member for the Carol Adams Foundation (supporting domestic and sexual violence victims in Richmond), the March of Dimes, Richmond Health Start, and the Community Engagement Federation. Since 2008 Dr. Masho has served as the VCU SOM Women and Science liaison with the AAMC to support advancement of women in science. In 2015, Dr. Masho was honored by Birth Matters Virginia as a Birth Matters Advocate of the Year for her work in improving birth outcomes and eliminating health disparities for women.

In 2016, Dr. Masho and co-principal investigator Terri Sullivan, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, were awarded a $6 million, five-year, CDC grant to work with Richmond communities to promote healthy communities and reduce the rate of violence. The project supports the work of the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development at VCU, one of five national centers of excellence for youth violence prevention funded by the CDC. Community partners include the Mosby, Whitcomb and Gilpin court neighborhoods in Richmond’s East End, as well as in Hillside Court and Bellemeade in South Richmond.

Recognizing her success as a mentor and role model to female faculty, her professionalism, leadership, scholarship, and teaching excellence, we honor Dr. Saba Masho today.