Dr. Alicia Best serves on cancer health disparities leadership council

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“Cancer disparities is my life’s work; it’s my passion,” said USF College of Public Health assistant professor Dr. Alicia Best.

She’s been selected to serve on the leadership council of the American Society of Preventative Oncology (ASPO) Cancer Health Disparities special interest group.

ASPO is a national multi-disciplinary professional organization focused on cancer prevention and control, and ultimately, reducing the burden of cancer, according to Best. The group provides professional development and networking opportunities for researchers, clinicians, and other professionals involved in cancer prevention and control.

Her two-year appointment began in October 2019.

Dr. Alicia Best. (Photo by Caitlin Keough)
Dr. Alicia Best. (Photo by Caitlin Keough)

“This special interest group is specifically focused on developing and evaluating interventions to reduce and eliminate the unequal burden of cancer. This aligns with my research interest and overall life’s work. Specifically, I conduct community-engaged research on the use of communication approaches to address cancer-related health disparities,” she said.

Best will use her expertise to develop and contribute to new initiatives while on the council.

“I would like to develop conference sessions, webinars, and other activities focused on the roles of cultural competence, spirituality/religion, health literacy, and health communication in addressing cancer disparities,” she said.

Her involvement with ASPO began in 2014 when she participated in a workshop for new investigators.

“That experience was incredibly valuable as it helped me refine my research ideas and more importantly, it served as my introduction to ASPO’s annual conference,” she said. “Since that time, I have attended almost every annual ASPO conference. ASPO has become my favorite research conferences because of the interesting and relevant sessions offered and intimate size, allowing for more meaningful networking opportunities.”

Best said she volunteered with the ASPO Early Career special interest group for several years, helping to plan conference sessions on identifying and managing burnout in research and academic careers.

“Everyone we know has been impacted by cancer in some way. I lost my mom to cancer, which sparked a special interest in working in cancer disparities research. This leadership council gives me a national platform to do the work I’m passionate about. I’m really excited,” she said.

Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health