April 2023

UMB Taps Davis to Lead Community Health Programs

April 28, 2023    |  

University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Dean Mark T. Gladwin, MD, announced on April 26 that Esa Matius Davis, MD, MPH, FAAFP, a nationally recognized leader in family and community medicine and population health, has been appointed as the inaugural associate vice president (AVP) for community health at the University of Maryland,  Baltimore (UMB) and senior associate dean for population and community medicine at UMSOM, effective July 1, 2023.

Dr. Esa Matius Davis

Dr. Esa Matius Davis

Davis, who is currently associate professor of medicine, clinical and translational science, and director of the Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity Program at the University of Pittsburgh, also was named a faculty member in the UMSOM Department of Family and Community Medicine.

Davis is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of clinical expertise in the acute and chronic management of adults and children. In addition, she is a widely published, National Institutes of Health-funded clinical researcher whose efforts focus on obesity-related maternal and child health outcomes and in comparative effectiveness research in maternal health and tobacco use disorder. Much of her work has focused on understanding the perinatal determinants of obesity, maternal health inequities, and long-term cardiovascular health in women. She has contributed to the field specifically by investigating the perinatal, cultural, and behavioral factors associated with the racial and socioeconomic inequities in obesity among women that have persisted for decades.

In her new position as AVP for community health, Davis will report to Gladwin in his role as vice president for medical affairs at UMB. As such, she will lead the implementation and ongoing operational performance of UMB's community health efforts across all seven schools to better serve the University’s local communities. In addition, she will develop future directions in value-based care models and population health programs by leveraging UMB's unique access to scientific and clinical data. Davis also will support new and existing innovative models of care that leverage federal and state workforce development opportunities, such as teaching health centers, community health centers, and nurse-led clinics.

"We are extremely delighted to have Dr. Davis help lead our collaborative efforts to improve the health and well-being of the citizens of West Baltimore," said UMB President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS. "Under Dr. Davis’ leadership, we will bring a focused approach to the community’s unique health needs and challenges, and will continue to promote equitable care for all."

As senior associate dean for population and community medicine for UMSOM, Davis will lead the coordination of activities across UMSOM that focus on community health, especially in the school’s neighboring West Baltimore community, while coordinating efforts with leaders in the Baltimore City Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health. In addition, she will direct the development of a cohesive UMSOM population health strategy in conjunction with clinical leadership and University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) leaders. By leveraging available health data from local communities, Davis will promote the expansion and coordination of clinical programs and organize opportunities to compete for sponsored funding in the areas of public and population health, including efforts to develop community-based care more fully with local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).

"Dr. Davis is a tremendous addition to our leadership team at both UMB and the School of Medicine. She brings a depth of experience and expertise in the most critical health challenges facing our underserved communities in Baltimore and across the nation," said Gladwin, who also is the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor at UMSOM. "We look forward to Dr. Davis’ leadership in expanding our role as an anchor institution in family and community health, and in our commitment to ensuring that everyone, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or other factors, has equitable access to health care and opportunities for health and well-being."

Davis, who recently served as the keynote speaker at the UMSOM “Celebrating Diversity” event, said: “I am immensely excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the highly talented UMB family of scholars, researchers, clinicians, and educators committed to improving the health and well-being of Baltimore. Solving the complex health and social problems in our community requires harnessing diverse perspectives, talents, and skills that will generate the best ideas, solutions, and discoveries.

"Having more complete perspectives at the table will enable us to best meet the learning needs of students, increase the innovation and impact of research, and provide exceptional clinical care for all patients. I am looking forward to doing my part to ensure UMB is a national beacon for education, clinical care, community service, and research,” Davis added.

Within UMSOM’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, Davis will work in close collaboration with the department’s chair, David L. Stewart, MD, with the goal of elevating the department’s reputation for excellence regionally and nationally through new initiatives, including an expanded residency program on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

"UMSOM’s Department of Family and Community Medicine is looking forward to working closely with Dr. Davis on our joint UMB/UMSOM/UMMC community health strategy — in which well-coordinated care and collaborative relationships with community-based organizations and Federally Qualified Health Centers will be central to our commitment to underserved populations in the communities we serve," said Stewart.

As part of her new role, Davis also will work closely with leadership at UMMC.

"UMMC is committed to our mission as an anchor institution in West Baltimore, and Dr. Davis will play a pivotal role in collaborating on our key initiatives to provide greater health care access, education, and care for our neighbors and the surrounding community," said UMMC President and CEO Bert W. O’Malley, MD.

Alison G. Brown, MPH, president, UMMC Midtown Campus, added: "We are thrilled to have Dr. Davis working with us across campuses and with the community to address stark, longstanding disparities. Every day, we aim to partner with people to achieve their best health with connected care."

Davis earned her medical degree from the New Jersey Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, before completing a family medicine residency at Overlook Hospital in New Jersey. She then earned an MPH in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, followed by a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program Research Fellowship and a General Internal Medicine and National Research Service Award Fellowship, both from Johns Hopkins University.

Davis is a member of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine that makes recommendations about clinical preventive services. She is a member of both the American Heart Association Funding and Quality Certification Committees and a diplomat of the American Board of Family Physicians. In addition, she will continue to direct the Transforming Biomedical Research and Academic Faculty Through Leadership, Opportunity Training and Mentorship (TRANSFORM) program, a national program that provides leadership training, mentoring, and coaching tailored to midcareer faculty historically underrepresented in science and medicine.