Training Core

The overall goal of the Training Core is to collaborate with the UAB Minority Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) Health Disparities Research Training Program (HDRTP) to serve as a resource infrastructure that provides training to develop clinical researchers in the area of cancer prevention and control spanning the entire cancer continuum (discovery, development, and dissemination).

The training core aims to implement structured HDRTP targeting scholars who are interested in developing a career in cancer disparities. The training core will:

  • Identify and recruit up to 2 trainees per year
  • Increase awareness of cancer health disparities and methods to reduce them
  • Complete the HDRTP training curriculum

Training Core Staff

Isabel Scarinci, Ph.D., Core Leader
(205) 975-7177

Ann Smith, Program Manager
(205) 934-0093

Dawn Fizer, Core Leader
(205) 996-2978

*Dr. Mona Fouad provided leadership to the Training Program from 2000-2014.


List of Scholars 


Abigail Gamble, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, UMMC



Tiffany Carson, Ph.D., Asst. Professor, UAB Medicine/Division of Preventive Medicine

Interest: Cancer/Obesity – perceived individual and environmental stress of obese black women residing in an urban (Jefferson) and rural (Marengo) Alabama county

Mentor:  Monica L. Baskin, Ph.D.

Jessica Williams, Ph.D., MPH, Asst. Professor, UAB Health Services Administration

Interest: Implicit association bias, which argues that health care providers express their biases toward out-groups in unintended, yet systematic ways that may contribute to health disparities. Explore these biases not only from the provider perspective, but also to examine how patient biases impact their interaction with the health care system and plans to follow medical advice.

Mentor:  Rob Weech-Maldonado, Ph.D.



Dr. Sunit Sebastian both mentored by Lucio Miele, M.D., Ph.D., who were selected to participate in the 2012 Health Disparities Research Training Program (HDRTP), are completing year 1 of the training.  Dr. Sebastian’s area of research interest is Cancer:  Colon Health Intervention Pilot (CHIP):  to use the breast cancer screening visit in African American women as a “teachable moment” for providing education regarding colorectal cancer screening and to offer a noninvasive colon screening option using CT Colonography.

Ginu Jefferson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, UMMC

Mentor:  Lucio Miele, M.D., Ph.D., UMMC



Dr. Dori Pekmezi, mentored by Karen Meneses, Ph.D. is almost finished implementing the HDRTP $10,000 pilot project, and continues to work on grant submissions and publications related to her research interest in reducing the risk for cancer among African Americans by increasing physical activity levels.

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