Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Erin N. Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Erin N. Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health

Description of Research

Dr. Erin Kobetz is the Director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center's (SCCC) Disparities and Community Outreach Core Resource, faculty and the Scholar in Residence at the Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity. Dr. Kobetz has substantial experience with disparities-focused research, and has been involved in multiple community-based participatory research endeavors to understand racial/ethnic differences in breast and cervical cancer outcomes.

In 2004, Dr. Kobetz established Patnè en Aksyon (Partners in Action), the campus-community partnership between SCCC and key community-based organizations in Little Haiti, the predominately Haitian area in Miami, Florida. The primary goal of Patnè en Aksyon is to reduce the excess disability and death from breast and cervical cancer among Haitian women. To accomplish this goal, university and community partners work together to conduct research, which can inform behavioral and social change. This partnership employs the methods of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to address the excess burden of cancer experienced by Haitian women residing in South Florida and abroad. Under Dr. Kobetz’s leadership, Patnè en Aksyon has secured over one million dollars in extramural research funding. Currently, Patnè en Aksyon supports several ongoing research initiatives including: Addressing Cervical Cancer Disparities in Little Haiti (PI: Kobetz): A two-year study funded by NCI to understand the sociocultural significance of gynecological health practices and the potential association of increased incidence of HPV infection among Haitian women. Assessing the Acceptability of Self-Sampling for HPV among Women in Haiti (PI: Kobetz): A two-year study funded by the SCCC. Many factors preclude women in rural Haiti from accessing preventive screening for HPV and cervical cancer. This study aims to identify such barriers and implement a community-based, sustainable cervical cancer prevention initiative to attenuate this disparity.

Neighborhood Characteristics, Stress and Cervical Cancer among Haitian Women (PI: Kobetz): A five-year study funded by the American Cancer Society to examine how stress, measured on an individual- and neighborhood-level, effects Haitian women’s risk of infection with oncogenic HPV types, as well as their likelihood of developing cervical lesions. Pap Tes Lakay: Evaluating the Acceptability, Feasibility and Cost-effectiveness of a Self-sampling Device for Early Detection of Cervical Neoplasia among Black Women Residing in Miami (PI: Kobetz): An ongoing study funded jointly by the University Of Miami Institute of Women’s Health and the SCCC. This research represents the first community-based intervention oriented around using, and evaluating the acceptability of a cervical self-sampling device among Black women living in Miami.

Pi bone se granm maten: The earlier the better (PI: Kobetz): A two-year study funded by the Susan G. Komen Foundation to identify multilevel determinants, which may account for the excess late-stage presentation of breast cancer among Haitian women.

In addition to Patnè en Aksyon, Dr. Kobetz has contributed significantly to other underserved communities in her role as the director of the Disparities and Community Outreach Core (DCOC) at SCCC. The DCOC provides support for disparities-focused, biobehavioral, epidemiologic, and cancer prevention and control research at SCCC. The core assists researchers from a wide range of academic displines including epidemiology, psychology, and genetics. The core helps investigators access South Florida's diverse population through an extensive network of coomunity contacts, who help tailor investigators' research designs, recruitment strategies, and data collection efforts so that they are culturally-relevant to the population of interest.


  • Awarded an R21 from the NCI to document the prevalence of mammography and pap smear screening among Haitian women living in Little Haiti; and to identify barriers to routine screening with two aims: to elucidate potential mechanisms for intervention to improve frequency of screening among Haitian women; and to obtain future grant funding to compare cancer prevention behaviors of Haitian women living in Miami with those living in other large, U.S. metropolitan areas, as well as, identify socio-cultural determinants and immigration patterns that may account for such differences.

Selected Cancer-Related Publications

  • Kobetz E, Menard J, Barton B, Pierre L, Diem J, Auguste PD. Patne en aksyon: addressing cancer disparities in little haiti through research and social action. Am J Public Health 99:1163-5,2009. Read more »


Leader of the Multidisciplinary Research Program: Cancer Prevention, Control, & Survivorship Program

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