Co-Director, Skin Cancer Institute
Robin B. Harris, MPH, PhD is Professor of Public Health in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. She is also Co-Director of the Skin Cancer Institute at the Arizona Cancer Center. Robin is a native Arizonan, although many years have been spent away from the state. Her PhD in epidemiology is from the University of Washington and Master’s in Public Health from the University of Texas at Houston. Her basic philosophy as an epidemiologist is that the practice of epidemiology is collaborative by nature. She seeks to blend teaching, research and service by working with faculty from multiple departments, with health department officials, with students, and with communities.
Dr. Harris has extensive experience working with community-based epidemiological studies of chronic diseases. At the University of Arizona, her research interests have broadly focused on causes and prevention of cancer, with a primary emphasis in skin cancer. In the area of skin cancer, current research priorities coincide with goals of the Skin Cancer Institute: implement an integrated patient registry-tissue bank into the clinical services of the Cancer Center, and develop effective community messages about sun protection and early detection. She is currently principal investigator of a project developing and evaluating an innovative educational intervention for teens focused on sun safety text messaging. She has also been a member of the Arizona Melanoma Task Force that identified substantial under-reporting of melanoma in Arizona and implemented effective strategies to address this issue.
In addition, Dr. Harris has worked with multidisciplinary research groups studying human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in men and women and arsenic exposures in Arizona and its potential relationships with cancer. She has been principal investigator of National Cancer Institute projects that focus on investigating geographical relationships between cancer incidence and exposure to arsenic in the state of Arizona as well as a binational study of arsenic exposures from water in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Over the past seven years, Dr. Harris has been working with a university-community partnership to evaluate cancer screening efforts among Native American men and women in Arizona and to implement appropriate survey methods for obtaining information for tribes about cancer knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Most recently, Dr. Harris became the principal investigator of one of the core research projects for the new NIEHS-EPA funded Center for Indigenous Environmental Health Research. This project builds on the prior partnerships with the Hopi Tribe with the experiences understanding arsenic exposures in Arizona (Cumulative Environmental Effects: Expanding Research with the Hopi Tribe).