Jasmin A. Tiro, PhD, MPH, has joined the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center as the new Associate Director of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences.
Tiro was formerly Professor of Population and Data Sciences at Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She also served as Associate Director for Community Outreach, Engagement and Equity.
“The Department of Public Health Sciences is excited that Dr. Tiro will be joining our Department faculty,” said Diane Sperling Lauderdale, PhD, Louis Block Professor and chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences. “She brings significant experience in innovative and impactful research that aims to reduce cancer disparities by advancing the adoption of evidence-based interventions in cancer prevention and screening into everyday health care.”
As a behavioral scientist focused on cancer care delivery research, Tiro identifies multilevel determinants of cancer prevention and early detection behaviors (e.g., HPV vaccination; breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening; hepatocellular cancer surveillance) and develops, tests and implements interventions that improve health outcomes for underserved patients seen by urban safety-net health care systems.
Dr. Tiro brings the experience and skill set needed to expand the program’s strengths beyond environmental and genetic epidemiology to design and implement health behavior interventions that address well-documented disparities on the South Side of Chicago.
Specifically, she is focused on developing and testing interventions to increase uptake of the HPV vaccine among adolescents. More recently, Tiro has expanded her research program to study the spread of misinformation and to promote effective community-engaged strategies to build trust with populations suspicious of new medical technologies. Vaccine hesitancy and the resulting poor uptake of vaccines were named one of the top 10 global health threats in 2019, and the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted this growing problem.
Another research focus is on cervical cancer screening, through a grant from the National Cancer Institute Population-based Research to Optimize the Screening Process (PROSPR) Consortium. Together with collaborators at Mass General Brigham and Kaiser Permanente Washington, Tiro is exploring how the complex risk-based guidelines are implemented in diverse clinical settings.
“As a recognized leader in HPV vaccination and cancer screening, Dr. Tiro brings the experience and skill set needed to expand the program’s strengths beyond environmental and genetic epidemiology to design and implement health behavior interventions that address well-documented disparities on the South Side of Chicago,” said Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. “With her arrival, we will be able to accomplish many initiatives that are critical to the success of our strategic plan.”
In her new role at the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, Tiro will work closely with Odunsi and the other program leaders in shaping and refining population research programmatic goals and activities within the context of the overall cancer center mission.
“I’m excited to be shifting my focus on how to grow and advance the Cancer Prevention and Population Science Research Program at the University of Chicago; form strong partnerships with the other research programs; enhance community-engaged research, and mentor the next generation of population scientists,” she said.
Tiro has a long history of mentoring students, especially underrepresented minorities and women, who have gone on to pursue research careers in public health, medicine and/or cancer prevention and control.
In addition to working with faculty, Tiro will collaborate frequently with the Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity (OCECHE) to translate cancer prevention and control discoveries into outreach programs that benefit the community.
Tiro received a PhD in Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. Her postdoctoral training was at the National Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program.
“Her areas of expertise complement PHS’s current strengths in cancer epidemiology and clinical research with health behavior research, qualitative research and pragmatic clinical trials,” said Lauderdale. “Through her role as Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Population Research at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, she will be able to further our efforts to improve health in the South Side of Chicago and beyond.”
Tiro replaces Habibul Ahsan, MBBS, MMedSc, Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor of Health Studies, Medicine, and Human Genetics, who has served in the role since December 2006 and is stepping down to focus his efforts as director of the University of Chicago Institute for Population and Precision Health (IPPH), which he founded in 2018.