University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Rena J. Pasick, DrPH

Rena J. Pasick, DrPH

Professor, Department of Medicine, UCSF; Assistant Director, Community Education and Outreach, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Breast Oncology | Cancer Control

Research Summary

I have more than twenty-five years’ experience working on cancer disparities in low-income ethnically diverse communities and clinical settings in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am trained in Public Health as a Health Educator. Based on my record of cancer disparities research, I was recruited to the UCSF Cancer Center in 2002 to serve in the new position of Director for Community Education and Outreach. Our initial objective was to establish our Center as a force for good in under-served communities. Toward that end, we created a Community Advisory Board (CAB) of influential leaders from our diverse communities, individuals who are proactive and eager for their communities to benefit from the resources of UCSF. Immediately the CAB formed a Faith Committee with the mission of building the capacity of African American church health ministries. Because UCSF had major NCI-funded Cancer Center initiatives in Asian and Latino communities, this became our focus. We developed a model for capacity-building that included ongoing training, technical assistance, and dissemination of evidence-based interventions to churches (e.g., NCI’s Body + Soul). To date, more than 70 churches in four counties have participated.
Through this work, I developed the Graduated Community Engagement Model, which first entails building trust and lasting partnerships through education, training, and capacity-building service to communities addressing their cancer disparities. Second, we expose our partners to the benefits of research through use of evidence-based interventions. Third, we engage in community-based participatory research on community priority issues (e.g., prostate cancer research now under way). Based on those experiences, community leaders are receptive to and ready to promote participation in biomedical research.


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, B.S., Dental Hygiene, 1972
George Washington University, Washington, D.C., M.A., Health Care Administration, 1978
University of California, Berkeley, M.P.H., Health Education, 1980
University of California, Berkeley, Dr. P.H., Health Policy and Administration, 1985

Professional Experience

  • 1977-1979
    Health Policy Consultant (F/T), Office of Health Information and Health Promotion, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D.C.
  • 1981-1984
    Teaching Assistant/Research Assistant, Dept. of Social & Admin. Health Sciences, UC Berkeley
  • 1985-1987
    Project Director, Health Promotion for Minorities in California, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
  • 1985-1988
    Lecturer (Health Promotion and Aging), Dept of Social and Administrative Health Sciences, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
  • 1987-1988
    Project Coordinator, Community and Home Injury Prevention Project for Seniors, San Francisco Department of Health
  • 1989-1991
    Affiliated Faculty, Institute for Health and Aging, UC San Francisco
  • 1989-2002
    Assistant Director, Prevention Sciences, Northern California Cancer Center, Union City, CA, 1989-1993; Associate Director, 1993-1998; Director, 1998-2002
  • 2002-2007
    Associate Professor of Medicine; University of California, San Francisco
  • 2002-present
    Associate Director for Community Education and Outreach, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 2007-present
    Adjunct Professor of Medicine; University of California, San Francisco

Selected Publications

  1. Nguyen TT, Tsoh JY, Woo K, Stewart SL, Le GM, Burke A, Gildengorin G, Pasick RJ, Wang J, Chan E, Fung LC, Jih J, McPhee SJ. Colorectal Cancer Screening and Chinese Americans: Efficacy of Lay Health Worker Outreach and Print Materials. Am J Prev Med. 2016 Dec 01.
    View on PubMed
  2. Stewart SL, Kaplan CP, Lee R, Joseph G, Karliner L, Livaudais-Toman J, Pasick RJ. Validation of an Efficient Screening Tool to Identify Low-Income Women at High Risk for Hereditary Breast Cancer. Public Health Genomics. 2016 Oct 28.
    View on PubMed
  3. Pasick RJ, Joseph G, Stewart S, Kaplan C, Lee R, Luce J, Davis S, Marquez T, Nguyen T, Guerra C. Effective Referral of Low-Income Women at Risk for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer to Genetic Counseling: A Randomized Delayed Intervention Control Trial. Am J Public Health. 2016 Oct; 106(10):1842-8.
    View on PubMed
  4. Tsoh JY, Sentell T, Gildengorin G, Le GM, Chan E, Fung LC, Pasick RJ, Stewart S, Wong C, Woo K, Burke A, Wang J, McPhee SJ, Nguyen TT. Healthcare Communication Barriers and Self-Rated Health in Older Chinese American Immigrants. J Community Health. 2016 Aug; 41(4):741-52.
    View on PubMed
  5. Jih J, Le G, Woo K, Tsoh JY, Stewart S, Gildengorin G, Burke A, Wong C, Chan E, Fung LC, Yu F, Pasick R, McPhee SJ, Nguyen TT. Educational Interventions to Promote Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity Among Older Chinese Americans: A Cluster-Randomized Trial. Am J Public Health. 2016 Jun; 106(6):1092-8.
    View on PubMed
  6. Tieu L, Sarkar U, Schillinger D, Ralston JD, Ratanawongsa N, Pasick R, Lyles CR. Barriers and Facilitators to Online Portal Use Among Patients and Caregivers in a Safety Net Health Care System: A Qualitative Study. J Med Internet Res. 2015; 17(12):e275.
    View on PubMed
  7. Livaudais-Toman J, Karliner LS, Tice JA, Kerlikowske K, Gregorich S, Pérez-Stable EJ, Pasick RJ, Chen A, Quinn J, Kaplan CP. Impact of a primary care based intervention on breast cancer knowledge, risk perception and concern: A randomized, controlled trial. Breast. 2015 Dec; 24(6):758-66.
    View on PubMed
  8. Goetzel RZ, Parker E, Terry PE, Pasick RJ, Burton WN, Green L, Hunnicutt D, Palma-Davis L, Eng E, Schulz AJ, Minkler M, Anderson DR, Strecher VJ, Katz D, Serxner S, Whitsel L, Pronk NP, Wallerstein N, Loeppke R, Resnicow K, Linnan L, Israel B. Twenty-Two Health Promotion Pioneers. Am J Health Promot. 2015 Sep-Oct; 30(1):TAHP2-TAHP12.
    View on PubMed
  9. Kaplan CP, Livaudais-Toman J, Tice JA, Kerlikowske K, Gregorich SE, Pérez-Stable EJ, Pasick RJ, Chen A, Quinn J, Karliner LS. A randomized, controlled trial to increase discussion of breast cancer in primary care. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Jul; 23(7):1245-53.
    View on PubMed
  10. Yoo GJ, Levine EG, Pasick R. Breast cancer and coping among women of color: a systematic review of the literature. Support Care Cancer. 2014 Mar; 22(3):811-24.
    View on PubMed
  11. Joseph G, Nguyen K, Nguyen T, Stewart S, Davis S, Kevany S, Marquez T, Pasick R. Efficient identification of low-income Asian American women at high risk for hepatitis B. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2013 Nov; 24(4):1701-16.
    View on PubMed
  12. Lyles CR, López A, Pasick R, Sarkar U. "5 mins of uncomfyness is better than dealing with cancer 4 a lifetime": an exploratory qualitative analysis of cervical and breast cancer screening dialogue on Twitter. J Cancer Educ. 2013 Mar; 28(1):127-33.
    View on PubMed
  13. Pérez-Stable EJ, Afable-Munsuz A, Kaplan CP, Pace L, Samayoa C, Somkin C, Nickleach D, Lee M, Márquez-Magaña L, Juarbe T, Pasick RJ. Factors influencing time to diagnosis after abnormal mammography in diverse women. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2013 Feb; 22(2):159-66.
    View on PubMed
  14. Pasick RJ, Kagawa-Singer M, Stewart SL, Pradhan A, Kidd SC. The Minority Training Program in Cancer Control Research: impact and outcome over 12 years. J Cancer Educ. 2012 Jun; 27(3):443-9.
    View on PubMed
  15. Joseph G, Kaplan C, Luce J, Lee R, Stewart S, Guerra C, Pasick R. Efficient identification and referral of low-income women at high risk for hereditary breast cancer: a practice-based approach. Public Health Genomics. 2012; 15(3-4):172-80.
    View on PubMed
  16. Walsh JM, Salazar R, Nguyen TT, Kaplan C, Nguyen LK, Hwang J, McPhee SJ, Pasick RJ. Healthy colon, healthy life: a novel colorectal cancer screening intervention. Am J Prev Med. 2010 Jul; 39(1):1-14.
    View on PubMed
  17. Walsh JM, Karliner L, Burke N, Somkin CP, Pham LA, Pasick R. Physicians' approaches to recommending colorectal cancer screening: a qualitative study. J Cancer Educ. 2010 Sep; 25(3):385-90.
    View on PubMed
  18. Walsh JM, Salazar R, Kaplan C, Nguyen L, Hwang J, Pasick RJ. Healthy colon, healthy life (colon sano, vida sana): colorectal cancer screening among Latinos in Santa Clara, California. J Cancer Educ. 2010 Mar; 25(1):36-42.
    View on PubMed
  19. Washington PK, Burke NJ, Joseph G, Guerra C, Pasick RJ. Adult daughters' influence on mothers' health-related decision making: an expansion of the subjective norms construct. Health Educ Behav. 2009 Oct; 36(5 Suppl):129S-44S.
    View on PubMed
  20. Pasick RJ, Burke NJ. In Memoriam: Sabra F. Woolley, PhD. Health Educ Behav. 2009 Oct; 36(5 Suppl):5S-6S.
    View on PubMed

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