• Isabel Scarinci, Ph.D., MPH, is a behavioral scientist with a deep commitment to the elimination of cancer disparities in the U.S. and in low- and middle-income countries. The focus of her work is on the application of behavioral science to public health by promoting behavior change at the population level. Her primary area of interest is cancer prevention and control (including tobacco control) among low-income, racial/ethnic minorities, and immigrant populations (particularly Latinos and African Americans). She is particularly interested in the development, implementation, and evaluation of community-based programs that are theory based and culturally relevant to underserved populations in the U.S. and abroad.

    In terms of methodological approaches to research, she has expertise in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and use of mixed methodology (qualitative/quantitative), particularly as it relates to culturally relevant needs/assets assessments. She also leads a number of training programs in health disparities targeting undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty in collaboration with other universities in the US and abroad.

    Scarinci is also very dedicated to community service. One example of her community work is a 10-year program to promote breast and cervical cancer screening among Latina immigrants in Alabama that relies 100 percent on the work of committed volunteers – Sowing the Seeds of Health. She has served on the Board of Directors for United Way of Central Alabama and Girls Scouts of North-Central Alabama and on the Advisory Board for the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham, and the Honorary Consul of Brazil to Alabama.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2019 Differences among cigarette-only smokers compared to dual users of cigarettes and little cigars/cigarillos in the criminal justice populationAddictive Behaviors.  90:236-240. 2019
    2019 Participation in Cervical Screening by Self-collection, Pap, or a Choice of Either in BrazilCancer Prevention Research.  12:159-170. 2019
    2019 Training Community Health Workers to promote breast cancer screening in BrazilHealth Promotion International.  34:95-101. 2019
    2019 Perceived Susceptibility to Cervical Cancer among African American Women in the Mississippi Delta: Does Adherence to Screening Matter?Women's Health Issues.  29:38-47. 2019
    2018 Determinants of obesity in two urban CommUnities: PerCePtions anD CommUnity-Driven solUtionsEthnicity and Disease.  28:33-42. 2018
    2018 Development of a participatory capacity-BuilDing program for congregational HealtH leaDers in African American cHurcHes in tHe us soutHEthnicity and Disease.  28:11-18. 2018
    2018 Prospective associations of breastfeeding and smoking cessation among low-income pregnant womenMaternal and Child Nutrition.  14. 2018
    2018 The challenge of HPV vaccination uptake and opportunities for solutions: Lessons learned from AlabamaPreventive Medicine.  113:124-131. 2018
    2018 Development and evaluation of a capacity building program in gender-relevant tobacco control research: A Brazilian experienceEvaluation and Program Planning.  68:1-6. 2018
    2018 Cervical cancer screening among underscreened and unscreened brazilian women: Training community health workers to be agents of changeProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action.  12:111-119. 2018
    2017 Primary Prevention of Cervical Cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology Resource-Stratified Guideline.Journal of Global Oncology.  3:611-634. 2017
    2017 Health Service Accessibility and Risk in Cervical Cancer Prevention: Comparing Rural Versus Nonrural Residence in New MexicoJournal of Rural Health.  33:382-392. 2017
    2017 A socio-ecological approach for examining factors related to contraceptive use among recent Latina immigrants in an emerging Latino stateWomen and Health.  57:872-889. 2017
    2017 A pilot study of community-based self-sampling for HPV testing among non-attenders of cervical cancer screening programs in El SalvadorJournal of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.  138:194-200. 2017
    2017 Preventing human papillomavirus–related cancers: we are all in this togetherAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  216:576.e1-576.e5. 2017
    2017 Strategies for enhancing research in aging health disparities by mentoring diverse investigators.Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.  1:167-175. 2017
    2017 A participatory evaluation framework in the establishment and implementation of transdisciplinary collaborative centers for health disparities researchEvaluation and Program Planning.  60:37-45. 2017
    2017 Advancing the Science of Health Disparities Through Research on the Social Determinants of HealthAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine.  52:S1-S4. 2017
    2017 Foreword: Latino health: An evolving health matterFamily and Community Health.  40:99-100. 2017
    2016 Sowing the seeds of health: Training of community health advisors to promote breast and cervical cancer screening among Latina immigrants in AlabamaJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.  27:1779-1793. 2016
    2016 Correlates and predictors of sexual health among adolescent Latinas in the United States: A systematic review of the literature, 2004-2015Preventive Medicine.  87:183-193. 2016
    2015 Factors affecting attendance to cervical cancer screening among women in the Paracentral Region of El Salvador: A nested study within the CAPE HPV screening program Chronic Disease epidemiologyBMC Public Health.  15. 2015
    2015 The national cancer institute’s community networks program initiative to reduce cancer health disparities: Outcomes and lessons learnedProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action.  9:21-32. 2015
    2015 Comparison of self-rated health among Latina immigrants in a Southern U.S. City and a national sampleAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences.  350:290-295. 2015
    2015 Development of a theory-based, peer support intervention to promote weight loss among Latina immigrantsBMC Obesity.  2. 2015
    2015 Structural and sociocultural factors associated with cervical cancer screening among HIV-infected African American women in AlabamaAIDS patient care.  29:13-19. 2015
    2014 Assessing needs and assets for building a regional network infrastructure to reduce cancer related health disparitiesEvaluation and Program Planning.  44:14-25. 2014
    2014 Impact of Alabama's immigration law on access to health care among latina immigrants and children: Implications for national reformAmerican Journal of Public Health.  104:397-405. 2014
    2014 A community-based, culturally relevant intervention to promote healthy eating and physical activity among middle-aged African American women in rural Alabama: Findings from a group randomized controlled trialPreventive Medicine.  69:13-20. 2014
    2014 Acceptability of self-collected versus provider-collected sampling for HPV DNA testing among women in rural El SalvadorJournal of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.  126:156-160. 2014
    2014 Factors associated with regular cigarette smoking by adolescents from public schools in Londrina, Paraná, BrazilCadernos de Saúde Pública.  30:774-784. 2014
    2014 Is there a role for community health workers in tobacco cessation programs? Perceptions of administrators and health care professionalsNicotine and Tobacco Research.  16:626-631. 2014
    2014 Perspectives on barriers and facilitators to minority recruitment for clinical trials among cancer center leaders, investigators, research staff, and referring clinicians: enhancing minority participation in clinical trials (EMPaCT).Cancer.  120 Suppl 7:1097-1105. 2014
    2013 Perceptions of harm to health from cigarettes, blunts, and marijuana among young adult African American menJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.  24:1266-1275. 2013
    2013 Acceptability of delivering and accessing health information through text messaging among community health advisorsJournal of Medical Internet Research.  15. 2013
    2013 Exploring barriers and facilitators to clinical trial enrollment in the context of sickle cell anemia and hydroxyureaMedical and Pediatric Oncology.  60:1333-1337. 2013
    2013 Spiritually Based Intervention to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening Among African Americans: Screening and Theory-Based Outcomes From a Randomized TrialHealth Education and Behavior.  40:458-468. 2013
    2013 Acceptability and Usability of Self-Collected Sampling for HPV Testing Among African-American Women Living in the Mississippi DeltaWomen's Health Issues.  23. 2013
    2013 Cervical cancer screening preferences among African American women in the Mississippi deltaJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.  24:46-55. 2013
    2013 Human papillomavirus genotypes detected in clinician-collected and self-collected specimens from women living in the Mississippi DeltaBMC Infectious Diseases.  13. 2013
    2013 Pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and the impact on womenRevista de Saúde Pública.  47:1123-1129. 2013
    2013 Social support among African Americans with heart failure: Is there a role for community health advisors?Heart & Lung: The Journal of Acute and Critical Care.  42:19-25. 2013
    2012 Preventive and curative care utilization among Mexican immigrant women in Birmingham, ALJournal of Immigrant Health.  14:983-989. 2012
    2012 The cultural context of obesity: Exploring perceptions of obesity and weight loss among Latina immigrantsJournal of Immigrant Health.  14:1063-1070. 2012
    2012 A Focus Group Study of Mexican Immigrant Men's Perceptions of Weight and LifestylePublic Health Nursing.  29:490-498. 2012
    2012 Spiritually based intervention to increase colorectal cancer awareness among african americans: Intermediate outcomes from a randomized trialJournal of Health Communication.  17:1028-1049. 2012
    2012 Prevalence of tobacco use and associated factors among women in Paraná state, BrazilCadernos de Saúde Pública.  28:1450-1458. 2012
    2012 Sexual health knowledge of male and female latino immigrantsJournal of Immigrant Health.  14:673-681. 2012
    2012 Design and evaluation of a theory-based, culturally relevant outreach model for breast and cervical cancer screening for latina immigrantsEthnicity and Disease.  22:274-280. 2012
    2012 A successful guide in understanding Latino immigrant patients: An aid for health care professionalsFamily and Community Health.  35:76-84. 2012
    2012 Development of a theory-based (pen-3 and health belief model), culturally relevant intervention on cervical cancer prevention among latina immigrants using intervention mappingHealth Promotion Practice.  13:29-40. 2012
    2012 Factors associated with perceived susceptibility to cervical cancer among latina immigrants in AlabamaMaternal and Child Health Journal.  16:242-248. 2012
    2012 Patterns of blunt use among rural young adult African-American menAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine.  42:61-64. 2012
    2011 Comparative performance of human papillomavirus DNA testing using novel sample collection methodsJournal of Clinical Microbiology.  49:4185-4189. 2011
    2011 Developing a family-based diabetes program for Latino immigrants: Do men and women face the same barriers?Family and Community Health.  34:280-290. 2011
    2011 Tobacco use among rural African American young adult malesOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.  145:259-263. 2011
    2011 Comparative community outreach to increase cervical cancer screening in the Mississippi DeltaPreventive Medicine.  52:452-455. 2011
    2011 Developing a community action plan to eliminate cancer disparities: lessons learned.Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action.  5:161-168. 2011
    2011 The association between income, education, and experiences of discrimination in older African American and European American patientsEthnicity and Disease.  21:223-229. 2011
    2011 Predictors of retention of African American women in a walking programHealth values.  35:40-50. 2011
    2011 Weight Status and High Blood Pressure Among Low-Income African American MenAmerican Journal of Men's Health.  5:255-260. 2011
    2010 Targeted intervention strategies to increase and maintain mammography utilization among African American womenAmerican Journal of Public Health.  100:2526-2531. 2010
    2010 Awareness and knowledge about human papillomavirus among latina immigrantsEthnicity and Disease.  20:327-333. 2010
    2010 Cervical cancer prevention: New tools and old barriersCancer.  116:2531-2542. 2010
    2010 Overcoming the barriers to HPV vaccination in high-risk populations in the USGynecologic Oncology.  117:486-490. 2010
    2010 Recognizing the diverse roles of community health workers in the elimination of health disparities: From paid staff to volunteersEthnicity and Disease.  20:189-194. 2010
    2010 Vaginal douching among Latina immigrantsMaternal and Child Health Journal.  14:274-282. 2010
    2010 Contribution of health care coverage in cervical cancer screening follow-up: Findings from a cross-sectional study in colombiaInternational Journal of Gynecological Cancer.  20:1. 2010
    2010 Tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy in low- and middle-income countries: the need for social and cultural research.Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.  89:465-477. 2010
    2009 Should HPV vaccine be given to men?BMJ.  339:872. 2009
    2009 Planning and implementation of a participatory evaluation strategy: A viable approach in the evaluation of community-based participatory programs addressing cancer disparitiesEvaluation and Program Planning.  32:221-228. 2009
    2009 Development of a spiritually based educational program to increase colorectal cancer screening among African American men and womenHealth Communication.  24:400-412. 2009
    2009 Seeking eye care for children: Perceptions among hispanic immigrant parentsJournal of Immigrant Health.  11:215-221. 2009
    2009 Disparities in self-monitoring of blood glucose among low-income ethnic minority populations with diabetes, United StatesEthnicity and Disease.  19:97-103. 2009
    2008 Applying the community health worker model to diabetes management: Using mixed methods to assess implementation and effectivenessJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.  19:1044-1059. 2008
    2008 Implementing the community health worker model within diabetes management: Challenges and lessons learned from programs across the United StatesDiabetes Educator.  34:824-833. 2008
    2008 The disparity of cervical cancer in diverse populationsGynecologic Oncology.  109. 2008
    2008 Contraceptive knowledge and use among low-income Hispanic immigrant women and non-Hispanic womenContraception.  77:270-275. 2008
    2008 Strategies for achieving healthy energy balance among African Americans in the mississippi deltaPreventing Chronic Disease.  5. 2008
    2007 Social support and the association of type 2 diabetes and depressive and anxiety disorders among low-income adults seen in primary care clinicsJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings.  14:351-359. 2007
    2007 An examination of acceptability of HPV vaccination among African American women and latina immigrantsJournal of Women's Health.  16:1224-1233. 2007
    2007 Strategies for achieving healthy energy balance among African Americans in the Mississippi Delta.Preventing Chronic Disease.  4. 2007
    2007 Sociocultural factors associated with cigarette smoking among women in Brazilian worksites: A qualitative studyHealth Promotion International.  22:146-154. 2007
    2007 Child health needs of rural Alabama latino familiesJournal of Community Health Nursing.  24:31-47. 2007
    2007 Strategies for achieving healthy energy balance among African Americans in the mississippi deltaPreventing Chronic Disease.  4. 2007
    2006 An examination of sociocultural factors associated with health and health care seeking among latina immigrantsJournal of Immigrant Health.  8:377-385. 2006
    2006 Addressing disparities through coalition building: Alabama REACH 2010 lessons learnedJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.  17:55-77. 2006
    2006 A community-driven action plan to eliminate breast and cervical cancer disparity: successes and limitations.Journal of Cancer Education.  21. 2006
    2006 Characteristics and correlates of quitting among black and white low-income pregnant smokersHealth values.  30:651-662. 2006
    2005 Patient smoking cessation advice by health care providers: The role of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and healthAmerican Journal of Public Health.  95:1056-1061. 2005
    2005 Socioeconomic status and insomniaJournal of Abnormal Psychology.  114:111-118. 2005
    2004 Smoking-related correlates of depressive symptoms in low-income pregnant womenHealth values.  28:510-521. 2004
    2004 Physician-patient interaction and depression among African-American women: A national studyEthnicity and Disease.  14:567-573. 2004
    2004 Modified tobacco use and lifestyle change in risk-reducing beliefs about smokingAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine.  27:35-41. 2004
    2004 Stage of change movement across three health behaviors: The role of self-efficacyAmerican Journal of Health Promotion.  19:94-102. 2004
    2003 A descriptive and comparative study of the prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in low-income adults with type 2 diabetes and other chronic illnessesDiabetes Care.  26:2311-2317. 2003
    2003 Relationships among smoking status, ethnicity, socioeconomic indicators, and lifestyle variables in a biracial sample of womenPreventive Medicine.  37:138-147. 2003
    2003 Changing multiple health behaviors: Smoking and exercisePreventive Medicine.  36:471-478. 2003
    2003 An examination of sociocultural factors associated with cervical cancer screening among low-income Latina immigrants of reproductive age.Journal of Immigrant Health.  5:119-128. 2003
    2003 Applying exercise stage of change to a low-income underserved populationHealth values.  27:99-107. 2003
    2003 Congruence of readiness to change, self-efficacy, and decisional balance for physical activity and dietary fat reductionAmerican Journal of Health Promotion.  17:329-336. 2003
    2003 Smoking attitudes and practices among low-income African-Americans: Qualitative assessment of contributing factorsAmerican Journal of Health Promotion.  17:240-248. 2003
    2002 Race, socioeconomic status, and perceived discrimination among healthy womenJournal of Women's Health.  11:441-451. 2002
    2002 Adolescent reports of physician counseling for smoking.Pediatrics.  109. 2002
    2002 Depression, socioeconomics status, age, and marital status in black women: A national studyEthnicity and Disease.  12:421-428. 2002
    2002 Examination of the temporal relationship between smoking and major depressive disorder among low-income women in public primary care clinicsAmerican Journal of Health Promotion.  16:323-330. 2002
    2002 The relationship between socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and cigarette smoking in urban adolescentsPreventive Medicine.  34:171-178. 2002
    2001 Socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and health care access among young and healthy womenEthnicity and Disease.  11:60-71. 2001
    2001 Utilization of medical services and quality of life among low-income patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder attending primary care clinicsInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine.  31:183-198. 2001
    2001 The utility of the CES-D as a depression screening measure among low-income women attending primary care clinicsInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine.  31:25-40. 2001
    2001 Access to prenatal, delivery, and newborn care among undocumented Hispanics in the Memphis area.Tennessee Medicine.  94:300-304. 2001
    2000 Socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and environmental tobacco exposure among non-smoking femalesNicotine and Tobacco Research.  2:355-361. 2000
    1999 Chronic minor stressors and major life events experienced by low-income patients attending primary care clinics: A longitudinal examinationJournal of Behavioral Medicine.  22:143-156. 1999
    1999 Prevalence of high-risk behaviors and obesity among low-income patients attending primary care clinics in Louisiana.Journal- Louisiana State Medical Society.  151:126-135. 1999
    1998 Predicting smoking stage of change among a sample of low socioeconomic status, primary care outpatients: Replication and extension using decisional balance and self-efficacy theoriesInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine.  5:148-165. 1998
    1998 Alcoholism among indigent inpatients: Identification and intervention by internal medicine residentsSouthern Medical Journal.  91:27-32. 1998
    1997 Modifiable High-Risk Behaviors for Cardiovascular Disease among Family Physicians in the United States: A National SurveyArchives of Family Medicine.  6:246-250. 1997
    1994 Altered pain perception and psychosocial features among women with gastrointestinal disorders and history of abuse: A preliminary modelAmerican Journal of Medicine.  97:108-118. 1994
    1993 The Relationship between Stress and Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux: The Influence of Psychological FactorsAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology.  88:11-19. 1993
    1992 Psychosocial and psychophysical assessments of patients with unexplained chest painAmerican Journal of Medicine.  92. 1992
    1992 Psychosocial and psychophysical assessments of patients with unexplained chest pain.American Journal of Medicine.  92:65S-73S. 1992
    1991 Pain threshold levels and coping strategies among patients who have chest pain and normal coronary arteriesMedical Clinics of North America.  75:1189-1202. 1991
    1989 Psychological support: a necessity for nursing studentsRevista Gaúcha de Enfermagem.  10:38-44. 1989


    Year Title Altmetric
    2012 Success of "Promotores de Salud" in identifying immigrant Latino smokers and developing quit plans.  159-171. 2012

    Research Overview

  • Cancer disparities - racial/ethnic minorities and rural populations
    Globalization and cancer
    Cancer prevention and control in low-resource settings
    Tobacco control
    Cervical cancer - screening and HPV vaccination
  • Teaching Overview

  • Mentoring of students and junior faculty
    Capacity building of researchers in cancer disparities, and tobacco control
    Capacity building of community health workers in low-resource settings
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology, Louisiana State University System : Baton Rouge 1998
  • Master of Psychology, Louisiana State University System : Baton Rouge 1996
  • Master of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham 1993
  • Bachelor of Social or Behavioral Science in Psychology, State University of Londrina 1984
  • Full Name

  • Isabel Scarinci-Searles