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 Associate Director for Disparities and Community Outreach at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Director of Sylvester’s Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity, and co-Leader of Sylvester’s Cancer Prevention, Control, & Survivorship Program. Dr. Kobetz is also Program Director for Community Engagement at the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

Dr. Kobetz has substantial experience with disparities-focused research, and has been involved in multiple translational research initiatives to understand and address health disparities in cervical and colorectal cancer outcomes. In 2004, Dr. Kobetz established Patnè en Aksyon (Partners in Action), a campus-community partnership between SCCC and key community-based organizations in Little Haiti, the predominately Haitian neighborhood in Miami, Florida. This partnership utilizes Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) methods and has become Sylvester’s model for community engagement. The Jay Weiss Institute, which Dr. Kobetz leads, now supports a number of campus-community partnerships, or Community Advisory Groups (CAGs), throughout the Miami metropolitan area. Such partnerships were conceived in the spirit of Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) and facilitate meaningful collaboration between University investigators and community stakeholders in addressing issues of health disparity.

Dr. Kobetz is the PI for the South Florida Center for Reducing Cancer Disparities, also known as SUCCESS, awarded in 2010 from The National Cancer Institute. Now in its last year, this project focuses on cervical cancer, a topic of significant health concern for three communities served by SUCCESS: Little Haiti, Hialeah, and South Dade. Like other predominately minority, low-income neighborhoods across the United States, these communities contribute to excess cervical cancer incidence and mortality, largely due to lack of access to routine Pap smear screening and timely follow up for detected abnormalities. SUCCESS aims to address this disparity. For the past three years, we have been engaged in a community trial comparing two innovative modalities for disease prevention: navigation to Pap smear screening at local Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) vs. home-based self-sampling for Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the principal cause of cervical cancer. In both arms, Community Health Workers (CHWs) play a critical role in intervention delivery. However, preliminary data indicate that CHW involvement may matter less than the method of screening itself. Screening uptake is significantly higher among women randomized to self-sampling in all three communities, likely given the ease of use and participant preference for home-based screening, which circumvents structural and cultural barriers to care.

Dr. Kobetz obtained a NIH R01 grant this year to explore this issue, and will formally test the significance of CHW participation by comparing self-sampling provided by a CHW with self-sampling provided by mail. Cervical cancer disproportionately affects racial/ethnic minorities, recent immigrants, and low-income women. Consistent with the tenets of CBPR, the focus of this effort reflects community input and is grounded in community members’ preferences for health and disease prevention. Dr. Erin Kobetz is the Associate Director for Disparities and Community Outreach at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Director of the Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity, Program Director for Community Engagement at the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and co-Leader of the Cancer Prevention, Control, & Survivorship Program.

Highlights

  • Co-chair of the Cervical Cancer Free Florida. This initiative is led by the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer and Moffitt Cancer Center and will develop the necessary infrastructure to support patient-centered translational inquiry to eliminate cervical cancer disparity throughout the state. (http://www.cervicalcancerfreecoalition.org/partners/partner-states/florida/ )
  • 2013 Recipient, Health Choice Network, Jessie Trice Hero Award for unwavering commitment to improving the lives of underserved and minority populations in South Florida.
  • 2013 Recipient, Healthcare Heroes Awards, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, for an extraordinary impact in the South Florida healthcare community.

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 »

Programs

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

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