Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

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

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

Professor of Medicine

Description of Research

Dr. Erin Kobetz is the Senior Associate Dean for Health Disparities, Associate Director, Population Sciences and Cancer Disparity, UM Sylvester, Director, Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity, and the Cancer Control Research Program Co-Leader. 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 Addressing Cervical Cancer Disparity in South Florida CPR in Action, also known as HIYA, awarded in 2014 from The National Cancer Institute. This project focus on the efficacy of a mailed HPV self-sampling intervention for cervical cancer screening in the underserved communities of 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. The HPV self-sampling intervention was found previously to be highly efficacious when delivered in-person by a community health worker. The current project aims to determine whether mailing the self-sampler will be equal to or better than the CHW-delivered intervention with respect to screening uptake. If shown to be efficacious, the mailed self-sampler will represent an innovative and cost-effective strategy to improve access to cervical cancer screening among underserved communities, and may be integrated into standard clinical practice at federally-qualified healthcare centers.

In addition to exploring this issue, Dr. Kobetz and her collaborator, Dr. Sylvia Daunert, are developing a rapid test designed to detect high-risk strains of HPV in as little as 15 minutes. The test may be paired with the HPV self-sampler and works much like a pregnancy test—it can be conducted by a paraprofessional and involves a paper-based probe that provides results. If found to be adequately sensitive, the HPV rapid test would revolutionize cervical cancer screening in resource-limited settings that lack clinical and laboratory infrastructure. In her role as PI and Senior Associate Dean for Health Disparities at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Kobetz has led institutional research efforts that engage community and academic partners, from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, to ensure that the research and associated findings translate from the bench to the community or “trench” and back.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Senior Associate Dean for Health Disparity at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. This newly created position is the first of its kind for the Miller School of Medicine. Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean, and CEO of UHealth, determined that Kobetz’ work and the University’s geographic location called for stronger representation for this growing issue.

Selected Cancer-Related Publications

  • Carrasquillo O, McCann S, Amofah A, Pierre L, Rodriguez B, Alonzo Y, Ilangovan K, Gonzalez M, Trevil D, Byrne MM, Koru-Sengul T, Kobetz E. Rationale and design of the research project of the South Florida Center for the Reduction of Cancer Health Disparities (SUCCESS): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. Jul 23;15(1):299. 2014
  • Kornfeld, J., Byrne, M., Vanderpool, R., Shin, S., Kobetz, E. HPV Knowledge and Vaccine Acceptability among Hispanic Fathers. Journal of Primary Prevention. Apr;34(1-2):59-69., 2013.
  • Parker, D., Dietz, N., Webb Hooper, M., Byrne, M., Fernandez, C., Baker, E., Stevens, M., Lee, D., Kobetz, E. Developing and Urban Campus-Community Partnership: Lessons Learned in Infrastructure Development and Communication. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action, 6 (4), Winter, 2012.
  • Kobetz, E., Kish, J., Gastineau, N. Koru-Sengul, T., Bishop, I., Lipshultz, H., Barton, B., Barbee, L. Burden of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) among Haitian Immigrants in Miami, Florida: CBPR in Action. Journal of Oncology, Vol. 2012.
  • Kobetz, E., Menard, J., Hazan, G., Koru-Sengul, T., Joseph, T., Nissan, J., Barton, B., Blanco, B., Kornfeld, J. Perceptions of HPV and Cervical Cancer among Haitian Immigrant Women: Implications for Vaccine Acceptability. Journal of Education for Health, 24(3), 2011.
  • Kobetz E, Menard J, Dietz N, Hazan G, Soler-Vila H, Lechner S, Diem J, Auguste P. Contextualizing the survivorship experiences of haitian immigrant women with breast cancer: opportunities for health promotion. Oncol Nurs Forum 38:555-60,2011 Read more »
  • Kobetz, E., Kornfeld, J., Vanderpool, R., Finney Rutten, L., Parekh, N., O’Bryan, G., Menard, J. Knowledge of HPV among US Hispanic Women: Opportunities and Challenges for Cancer Prevention. Journal of Health Communication, 15:22–29, 2010.
  • Kobetz, E., Mendoza, A., Menard, J., Finney Rutten, L., Diem, J., Barton, B., Kornfeld, J., McKenzie, N. One Size Does Not Fit All: Differences in Knowledge between Haitian and African American Women. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, 19(2): 366-70, 2010.
  • Kobetz, E., Menard, J., Barton, B., Maldonado, JC., Diem, J., Auguste, PD., Pierre, L. Barriers to Breast Cancer Screening among Haitian Women in Miami, Florida. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 12(3): 418-421, 2010.
  • 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 Control Program

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