Alicia L. Best, PhD, MPH, CHES, CPH
Office: LRC 210, MDC 56
Voice Mail: (813) 974-5290
Fax: (813) 974-5172
Education and History
Came to USF
B.S. Alabama State University, 2007
M.P.H. Morehouse School of Medicine, 2009
Ph.D. University of South Carolina, 2012
Health Education and Promotion
Cancer prevention & control
Health Equity and Social Justice
Dr. Alicia Best is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Family Health at the College of Public Health. She is a socio-behavioral researcher and certified health education specialist (CHES) with academic training and experience in health education and promotion, health communication, and cancer-related health disparities. Dr. Best earned an MPH in Health Education and Health Promotion from Morehouse School of Medicine, as well as a PhD in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communications from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. She also received postdoctoral training in behavioral research with a focus on cancer disparities at the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Best conducts original research focused on the use of communication approaches to address cancer-related health disparities with emphasis on meaningful engagement of underserved communities. Her previous work has focused on identifying, understanding, and contextualizing social and cultural factors (i.e. spirituality and religiosity) that influence disparities across the cancer continuum. Since joining USF, Dr. Best has continued her cancer disparities research with emphasis on partnering with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). She collaborates on the FQHC Signature Project with the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (U48/DP005000-01S2). This national, multi-site study is focused on evaluating and strengthening existing implementation efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among populations served by FQHCs. Additionally, Dr. Best is a Co-Investigator on the Florida Prevention Research Center’s Core Research Project aimed at increasing colorectal cancer screening rates among Florida residents accessing FQHCs (1U48DP005024‐01).
In 2018, Dr. Best was awarded an NCI Mentored Research Scientist Development Award to Promote Diversity (1K01CA226355-01) to explore how FQHC users perceive routine asymptomatic cancer screening, and to develop and pre-test an eHealth tool that responds to the cancer screening decision-making process of FQHC users. This 5-year grant is interdisciplinary and community engaged, as it involves faculty from public health, engineering, and Moffitt Cancer Center along with staff and patients from a Florida-based FQHC. Dr. Best also conducts research on interpersonal communication (e.g. disclosure), social support, and the psychosocial impact of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers.
Dr. Best’s research extends beyond measuring health disparities to the actual implementation and evaluation of interventions designed to improve the health of under-served communities. Prior to joining the Department of Community and Family Health, she served as Director of Research and Community Health at an FQHC in one of Metropolitan Atlanta’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. She has extensive experience in community health education, community-engaged research, and health promotion program implementation and evaluation within under-served communities. In addition to her research, Dr. Best teaches graduate-level courses in health disparities, social marketing, and socio-behavioral science. She also developed an undergraduate course on health disparities and social determinants of health.