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Cancer Healthcare Disparities and Community Outreach & Engagement

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Investigator / Contact Person Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H.


Dr. Erin Kobetz serves in multiple roles at the University of Miami (UM). As the Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship, she works with university affiliates, community stakeholders, funding agencies, and industry partners to advance the University’s research enterprise. As the Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (Sylvester) and the Chief of Population Health and Cancer Disparities for the UHealth Oncology Service Line, she facilitates the interdisciplinary integration of population science within the basic, translational, and clinical research conducted across the University, as well as Sylvester’s three research programs. Dr. Kobetz is a Tenured Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Public Health Sciences, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at UM’s Miller School of Medicine and a recipient of the John K. and Judy H. Schulte Senior Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. She also oversees center-wide community outreach and engagement efforts, including working with other Sylvester leadership to identify research priorities for catchment area needs and setting the focus and direction of Sylvester’s Office of Outreach and Engagement. She leads programs that deliver Sylvester’s resources to diverse and underserved communities across South Florida, including the Game Changer mobile clinics, which mitigate barriers by directly bringing cancer screenings, health information, and research opportunity to individuals in the catchment areas. Dr. Kobetz also serves as Co-Director and Multiple Principal Investigator of UM’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and in these roles synergize efforts in these programs across UM.

She earned a Master's in Public Health from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University (1999), and joined the University of Miami, after completing her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Public Health (2004). Soon after, Dr. Kobetz established Patnè en Aksyon (Partners in Action), Sylvester’s first ever community-academic partnership in Little Haiti, the largest enclave of Haitian settlement outside of Haiti, and remains committed to integrating diverse stakeholders into the translational research continuum. As part of her community-based research program, Dr. Kobetz has led several successful initiatives to reduce the disproportionate impact of gynecological cancers on minoritized and marginalized women, particularly the excess burden of cervical cancer within South Florida’s Haitian community. Most notably, she and her team were among the first to translate HPV self-sampling from a clinical to community setting, eliminating multilevel barriers within communities disenfranchised from healthcare opportunity, successfully increasing participation in cervical cancer screening and awareness.

Dr. Kobetz has also partnered with South Florida firefighters – similarly characterized by excess cancer risk – and leads the Firefighter Cancer Initiative (FCI), a University-wide interdisciplinary program to address disparity and ensure that the research and associated findings translate from the bench to the community, or “trench,” and back. Such efforts have been locally, regionally, and nationally recognized and serve as an important approach to develop new community-based models for cancer prevention and achieve sustainable health and social change in underserved communities. Through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparity (NIHMD), she serves as the Principal Investigator and Ad-Hoc member on numerous grants, funded initiatives, and study sections to support collaborative science and engagement within various diverse South Florida communities.