Kassandra I. Alcaraz, PhD, MPH

Senior Principal Scientist, Behavioral Research

ABOUT

As our in-house health disparities scientist, Kassandra I. Alcaraz designs and directs collaborative research to understand and eliminate disparities in cancer. She serves as principal investigator of multiple studies, including an ongoing study of socio-contextual influences on smoking and cessation among socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers. 

RESEARCH SUMMARY

Alcaraz’s research focuses on social, behavioral, geographic, and multilevel determinants of disparities experienced by socioeconomically disadvantaged, racial/ethnic minority, and other medically vulnerable populations. She also studies the most effective ways to disseminate evidence-based interventions in clinical and community settings for these disadvantaged populations. Her research has enhanced the scientific literature on community-based outreach to underserved groups, the use of digital technologies for targeted intervention with diverse populations, and contextual determinants of health. She is pioneering research on social and biobehavioral influences on health in socially and economically disadvantaged populations.

Alcaraz developed the ConNECT Framework to advance research and interventions focused on health equity and led the largest study to date on social isolation and mortality in multiple race-sex subgroups. Her research has been recognized with awards for innovation and excellence by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and American Association for Cancer Research. She is the Co-chair-Elect of the Health Equity Special Interest Group of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

EDUCATION

  • PhD, Social Work/Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis, 2012
  • NCI-sponsored Fellowship in Eliminating Health Disparities, Saint Louis University, 2005-2007
  • MPH, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Saint Louis University, 2007

PUBLICATIONS

For a full list of Alcaraz’s publications, visit her Google Scholar page.