Scientist, Researcher, Educator
Aida Shirazi Ph.D. is a health disparities research scientist and educator in the field of Public Health with expertise in Community Based Participatory Research. She earned her doctorate in Community Health Education and Health Promotion, her master’s degree in Medicinal Anthropology, Nutritional Sciences and a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy.
She served as the Program Director of a five-year NCI-funded U54 Cooperative Agreement with the University of Berkeley California, School of Public Health, focusing on reducing disparities in the early detection and prevention of breast cancer in the Afghan immigrant and refugee population in California. She created the first cohort of community cancer “health navigators” and “caregivers” for Afghan women in the Bay Area and a first of its kind around the country. This program has led to increasing the rates of early detection of breast cancer in the Afghan community. She has also created successful educational programs for Afghan men regarding colorectal cancer screening.
As a result of the Community Navigation Program, there was increased access to preventive health services for hundreds of monolingual Afghan women who are illiterate in their own language and have low English proficiency. In addition, they were able to expand the level of community engagement to the broader Afghan community and has even attracted international attention from researchers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China and Iran.
She has developed and led an advisory board in which community members are involved as partners in the design, translation, recruitment, and interpretation of results. Afghan immigrants and refugees are at high risk for chronic health problems stemming from a lack of access to health services due to education and language barriers and social isolation. Her goal is to develop initiatives enhancing the quality of life of refugees and immigrants in California and the US. Dr. Shirazi ‘s interests are to reduce health disparities among refugee and immigrant populations by mentoring the next generation of health disparities researchers--post-doctoral students and early career faculty--in methodological skills and CBPR, content areas (disparities research and co-morbidities) and professional skills such as grant writing and writing for publications and provide training programs for community-based organizations. Dr. Shirazi lives with her family in Contra Costa County. She has worked with the Afghan community in the Bay Area for many years and has passion for humanitarian work.