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New TL1 Co-Lead: Nicole Nollen, B.S., M.A., Ph.D

Mar 28, 2023

Nicole Nollen has joined the Frontiers Education and Training Core as the new TL1 co-lead with Jennifer Goldman, M.D. (Children’s Mercy Hospital).

Nollen, who has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Health since 2005 for her research on tobacco-related health disparities and has authored or co-authored over 80 manuscripts on the topic, is joining Frontiers having experience as a mentor with Eleanor Leavens, a former TL1 trainee and current Assistant Professor in Population Health.

“I’m familiar with the programs Frontiers offers and seeing how Dr. Castro has worked to open a community-based research unit (Swope CTSU) has been so important for the work that we and other investigators working with minoritized and/or socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are doing,” she said. “The Swope CRU is in the heart of a community that our population knows, and trusts and it is easily accessible by public transportation, which is critically important.

Nollen has been active in mentoring for about the past five years and looks forward to continuing to mentor moving forward, especially as she works with trainees that are outside of her training.

“This program is so important for career development because so much needs to be learned and it’s challenging to try and do it by yourself,” she said. “I hope with my background that I can provide a fresh perspective to trainees as well. So many investigators assume people know what they are talking about when they talk at a high level and that isn’t true. Just being able to communicate to people so they understand is important.”

“Frontiers is providing a critically important opportunity for investigators in the region, and we can’t offer some of these programs without the CTSA. This opportunity is phenomenal,” said Nollen. “This provides a network for support, mentorship and collaboration.”

Nollen is a psychologist by training and her research has focused on tobacco disparities among the African American population and harm reduction.

“It’s the adage, ‘I didn’t pick this, it picked me,” said Nollen. “I realized this was a good fit for me when I met with the former chair of the department. I wanted to be in Kansas City and that’s how I became connected.

“I’m interested in the population that we see at the Swope Clinical and Translational Science Unit (CTSU) and how we can meet their needs where they are. When basic needs like stable housing, jobs, and food are not being met, focus on health behavior change becomes secondary.”

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Kelly Hale

Communications Coordinator

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