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).
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.
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.
USF Health: To envision and implement the future of health.