Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine, UCSF
My current study, "Translating Cancer Genetics to the Safety Net Setting" (Susan G. Komen, 2012-2016), builds on pilot research with low-income Latinas undergoing genetic counseling. Based at two public hospitals, this ethnographic study inductively describes current practices in hereditary breast cancer communication with low-income English-, Spanish-, and Cantonese-speaking patients; identifies key dimensions of genetic counseling communication across cultures and literacy levels; and pilot tests an intervention with counselors to improve genetic counseling communication.
I have also been a Co-I on two recently completed studies to develop and test interventions to increase hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) screening. The NCI-funded R01 study, "Statewide Communication for High-Risk Low Income Women" (2007-12), was a randomized delayed control trial to test the effectiveness of an intervention to identify uninsured women at risk for HBOC among callers to California’s statewide free breast and cervical cancer screening phone service. In addition, I was a founding member of the International Network for the Comparative understanding of BRCA breast cancer gene research and medical practices, a collaboration with European social science scholars (2009-2014). The network organized workshops and conferences, and published a special section of the journal BioSocieties in 2010, and produced an edited volume Breast Cancer Gene Research and Medical Practices: Transnational Perspectives in the time of BRCA.
A second key area of my research is communication about cancer clinical trials with vulnerable patients. I am PI of "Engaging Underserved Women in Health Research" (California Breast Cancer Research Program, 2014-2017), a randomized controlled trial of a patient navigator intervention with multilingual low-income breast cancer patients and survivors to increase information about and access to breast cancer research participation opportunities. I previously conducted ethnographic research on recruitment practices at public, academic, and private community-based oncology clinics to elucidate mechanisms by with potential participants are included and excluded from clinical research (ACS, Dohan 2005-2010).
Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, B.A., 1988, Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz, M.A., 1993, Cultural Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz, Ph.D., 1999, Cultural Anthropology
Yale University, Center for International & Area Studies, Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2001, Migration, Globalization, & Citizenship