Cancer Epidemiologic Research in Understudied Populations Webinar Series


The Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program hosts a quarterly webinar series, Cancer Epidemiologic Research in Understudied Populations. Understudied populations are groups about which there are limited data regarding cancer risks and outcomes that can inform cancer control policies and interventions. Examples of understudied populations include racial or ethnic groups; people subject to low socio-economic factors; non-metropolitan/rural populations; sexual and gender minorities; immigrant, migrant, or refugee populations; the incarcerated; and the elderly. The purpose of this webinar series is to highlight innovative cancer epidemiology research on these populations.

Presentation topics on understudied populations in cancer epidemiologic research may include:

  • Cancer and health disparities
  • Transdisciplinary approaches for cancer epidemiology in understudied populations
  • Novel study designs and methodology
  • Etiology including but not limited to biological and behavioral mechanisms, and environmental risk factors (social and physical)
  • Implementation and intervention studies

Any interested individual is invited to participate; however, pre-registration is required. Each presentation will be about 30-40 minutes in length and allow for 30 minutes of discussion. Instructions for connecting to the webinars will be sent via e-mail to individuals who register.

For more information, please visit Think Tank on Understudied Populations in Cancer Epidemiologic Research: Implications for Future Needs.

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Upcoming Topics and Speakers

There are currently no upcoming webinars scheduled.

Note: Additional speakers and topics may be added in the future.

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Past Topics and Speakers


June 24, 2019 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST

Cancer Epidemiology and Research among Alaska Native People

Sarah Nash, Ph.D., M.P.H.External Web Site Policy
Director, Alaska Native Tumor Registry
Principal Investigator, Alaska Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program

View Webinar Description

Dr. Nash is actively involved in research to understand and address Alaska Native cancer concerns. She joined the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's Alaska Native EpiCenter as their Director of Cancer Surveillance in 2015. In this role, she manages the Alaska Native Tumor Registry and serves as PI of the Alaska SEER sub-contract. She is also the PI for an epidemiologic study of colorectal cancer risk for Alaska Native people, which is funded by the AIAN Clinical Translational Research Program.

Dr. Nash presented an introduction to cancer epidemiologic research in an Alaska Native population and future directions for research in this population.

April 4, 2019 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST

Emerging and Persistent Cancer Health Disparities in Asian American Populations

Scarlett Lin Gomez, Ph.D., M.P.H.External Web Site Policy
Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of California, San Francisco

View Webinar Description

Dr. Scarlett Lin Gomez is an epidemiologist with research interests in the role of social determinants of health—including race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, immigration status, sociocultural factors, and neighborhood contextual characteristics—on health outcomes. She is also Director of the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry, a part of the California Cancer Registry and the NCI Surveillance Epidemiology End Results (SEER) Program. She has contributed surveillance data regarding cancer incidence and outcome patterns and trends for distinct Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic ethnic groups, as well as cancer patterns by nativity status and neighborhood characteristics. She developed the California Neighborhoods Data System, a compilation of small-area level data on social and built environment characteristics and has used these data in more than a dozen funded studies to evaluate the impact of social and built neighborhood environment factors on disease outcomes.

This presentation presented the major emerging and persistent cancer health disparities among distinct Asian American populations according to the latest surveillance and epidemiologic data; highlighted selected research of efforts to address these disparities; and discussed challenges and opportunities for future research.


September 19, 2018 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST

Cancer Epidemiology and Cancer Care Quality Among VA Health Care System Patients

Leah L. Zullig, Ph.D., M.P.H.External Web Site Policy
Associate Professor, Department of Population Health Sciences, Duke University Medical Center
Investigator, Durham Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care

View Webinar Description

Leah L. Zullig, PhD, MPH is a health services researcher, Associate Professor in the Duke Department of Population Health Sciences, investigator at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Zullig's overarching research interests address the reduction of healthcare disparities, improving cancer care delivery and quality, and promoting cancer survivorship and chronic disease self-management. Her research is supported by a VA HSR&D Career Development Award. She has authored over 90 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Zullig holds a B.S. in Health Promotion, an M.P.H. in Public Health Administration, and a Ph.D. in Health Policy.

In this webinar Dr. Zullig presented on the cancer epidemiology and cancer care quality among VA healthcare system patients.

June 7, 2018 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET

Cancer-Related Risks Among People Who Are Opioid Dependent

Claire Vajdic, Ph.D.
Head of the Cancer Epidemiology Research Unit, Center for Big Data Research in Health, The University of New South Wales

View Webinar Description

Dr. Claire Vajdic is a cancer epidemiologist leading a program of research on the causes and consequences of cancer, and disparities in cancer care. Her vision is to use "big data" to support precision cancer prevention and cancer care. She uses traditional epidemiological study designs as well as integrated registry, survey, clinical, genomic, and routine administrative health data.

Dr. Vajdic uses her expertise in study design and data integration to successfully lead large-scale projects that have demonstrably improved clinical practice and public health policy through effective collaboration with clinicians, scientists, and consumers. For example, her research on the risk factors for ocular melanoma formed the basis of the decision by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to classify sun exposure as having "limited evidence" of carcinogenesis on risk of ocular melanoma. Dr. Vajdic’s research comparing cancer risk in people with HIV and transplant recipients resulted in a paradigm shift in our understanding of the role of immune function in the prevention of a wide range of cancers (and is heavily cited in IARC monographs on infectious organisms). This data also supported the initiation of highly active anti-retroviral therapy at HIV diagnosis in current U.S. and Australian guidelines. Her research on the cancer incidence profile in kidney transplant recipients was influential in the development of the current global clinical practice guidelines, specifically those related to managing cancer risk.

In this webinar, Dr. Vajdic reviewed her research on the cancer profile of adults registered for opioid substitution therapy. She also discussed the methods and findings and highlighted the sparse data available for this high-risk group.

April 5, 2018 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

Mass Incarceration and Cancer-Related Outcomes

Emily Wang, MD, MASExternal Web Site Policy
Associate Professor, Yale School of Medicine
Co-founder, Transitions Clinic Network

View Webinar Description

Dr. Wang's research focuses on promoting health equity for vulnerable populations, especially individuals with a history of incarceration, through both prison and community based interventions. The Transitions Clinic Network, which she co-founded, is a consortium of 15 community health centers nationwide dedicated to caring for recently released prisoners and defining best practices for the health care of individuals leaving prison. Dr. Wang's presentation focused on cancer in incarcerated populations.

January 17, 2018 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

Cancer Prevention and Control Research in Appalachian Kentucky

Robin Vanderpool, DrPH, CHESExternal Web Site Policy
Associate Professor, Department of Health Behavior & Society, University of Kentucky

View Webinar Description

Dr. Vanderpool's research interests include cancer health disparities among rural and Appalachian populations, HPV vaccination, dissemination and implementation research, the impact of cancer on employment and treatment outcomes, and cancer survivorship. Dr. Vanderpool discussed best practices and lessons learned from the Appalachian Center for Cancer Education, Screening, and Support (ACCESS)External Web Site Policy and the UK Rural Cancer Prevention Center (RCPC)External Web Site Policy projects.


October 18, 2017 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

Cancer Health Disparities and Risk Factors in Homeless Populations

Travis P. Baggett, M.D., MPHExternal Web Site Policy
Clinician-Investigator, Division of General Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; and Staff Physician, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

View Webinar Description

Dr. Baggett's research focuses on the health of homeless people, with an emphasis on addictive behaviors and their medical consequences in this population. Dr. Baggett presented on cancer and cancer risk factors in homeless populations.

June 6, 2017 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

Opportunities and Challenges in Survivorship Research in Adolescents and Young Adults

Scott Baker, M.D., M.S.External Web Site Policy
Director, Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Survivorship Programs, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

View Webinar Description

Dr. Baker's research interests include short- and long-term effects of blood and marrow transplantation, incidence, risk factors and characteristics of cardiopulmonary, metabolic, renal, endocrine and reproductive late effects and quality-of-life outcomes in long-term cancer survivors. Dr. Baker presented on cancer in adolescents and young adults, especially highlighting cancer health disparities seen in outcomes and survivorship.


November 15, 2016

Lessons Learned from the NICHD/PCORI Transgender Cohort Study

Michael Goodman, M.D., M.P.H.External Web Site Policy
Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

View Webinar Description

Dr. Michael Goodman's current research focuses on quality of life treatment outcomes among prostate cancer patients, comparative effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening options, and health status of transgender people. Dr. Goodman shared lessons learned from a cohort study of mortality and morbidity in transgender persons, with a special emphasis on cancer-related issues in this population. This study, supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), is potentially the largest cohort of transgender people available to date and the first study of its kind in the United States.

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EGRP Planning Committee

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Questions about individual webinars or the series may be submitted via e-mail to the Planning Committee at

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