Nynikka Palmer, DrPH, MPH

Nynikka Palmer

Nynikka Palmer, DrPH, MPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine (Division of General Internal Medicine at SFGH), Urology and Radiation Oncology
Helen Diller Family Chair in Community Education and Outreach for Urologic Cancer


BS, 2000, Health Education, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
MPH, 2002, Behavioral Sciences Health Education, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
DrPH, 2010, Health Promotion Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX
NCI-sponsored Cancer Education and Career Development Pre-doctoral Fellowship, University of Texas, School of Public Health, Houston, TX, 2007-2010
NCI-sponsored Cancer Survivorship Postdoctoral Fellowship, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, 2010-2013


Dr. Nynikka Palmer received her undergraduate training from Morgan State University, where she earned a degree in community health education with honors. She earned a master’s degree in public health from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and subsequently worked for the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia collaborating with community organizations on cancer education and early detection in minority and underserved communities. Dr. Palmer went on to earn a doctorate in public health, in behavioral sciences and health promotion from the University of Texas, School of Public Health in Houston. During her doctoral program, she was a pre-doctoral fellow on a National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored cancer prevention and control training program. She extended her training in cancer with a focus on cancer survivorship and health disparities as a postdoctoral fellow on an NCI-sponsored training award at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Dr. Palmer was recruited to the University of California San Francisco in 2013 to further her research career in prostate cancer disparities. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG), with a secondary appointment in the Department of Urology, and she is an Associate member of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and an Associate Faculty member of the Center for Vulnerable Populations at ZSFG. In 2016, Dr. Palmer was awarded the Helen Diller Family Chair in Community Education and Outreach for Urologic Cancer (an endowed chair), and received a National Cancer Institute K01 career development award to advance her research agenda in late 2017.

Research Interests

  • Cancer health disparities
  • Prostate cancer
  • Patient-centered communication
  • Quality of care
  • Cancer survivorship, particularly follow-up care
  • Health services and outcomes research
  • Mixed methods research

Dr. Palmer’s research focuses on addressing inequities in quality of care, specifically among African American men with prostate cancer, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Her current research study aims to bridge the divide between African American men and equal prostate cancer treatment by anchoring the evidence-based intervention of peer navigation in the relational concept of African American brotherhood as a means to foster trust and empowerment, and thus optimize patient-centered communication and quality of care. Her long-term career goal is to develop, implement, and disseminate culturally meaningful interventions to improve the quality of cancer care and reduce the burden of prostate cancer among African American men. Her research is grounded in and engages the African American community. Through the Men’s Health Committee, of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Community Advisory Board, Dr. Palmer established a support group for African American men facing prostate cancer, which has been thriving since September 2013. She is also the co-leader of the Prostate Cancer Task Force of the San Francisco Cancer Initiative (SF CAN), working to eliminate prostate cancer disparities among African American men through targeted and culturally tailored community outreach, education, screening, navigation and support.



Patient Contact

San Francisco General Hospital
1001 Potrero Avenue
UCSF Mail Box #1364
San Francisco, CA 94143-1364

415.206.4334  (Phone)
415.206.5586  (Fax)

Academic Contact

San Francisco General Hospital
1001 Potrero Avenue
Building 10, Ward 13, Room 1311J
San Francisco, CA 94110