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Robin Harris PhD, MPH

Robin  Harris PhD, MPH

Professor Emeritus

Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department

Co-Director of the Skin Cancer Institute

1295 N. Martin
Drachman Hall A234
PO Box: 245211
Tucson AZ 85724


Robin B. Harris, MPH, PhD is Professor of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. She is also Co-Director of the Skin Cancer Institute at the Arizona Cancer Center. Robin is a native Arizonan, although many years have been spent away from the state.  Her PhD in epidemiology is from the University of Washington and Master’s in Public Health from the University of Texas at Houston. Her basic philosophy as an epidemiologist is that the practice of epidemiology is collaborative by nature. She seeks to blend teaching, research and service by working with faculty from multiple departments, with health department officials, with students, and with communities.

Research Interests

Dr. Harris has extensive experience working with community-based epidemiological studies of chronic diseases. At the University of Arizona, her research interests have broadly focused on causes and prevention of cancer, with a primary emphasis in skin cancer. In the area of skin cancer, current research priorities coincide with goals of the Skin Cancer Institute: re-establish a population-based skin cancer registry, implement an integrated patient registry-tissue bank into the clinical services of the Cancer Center, and develop effective community messages about sun protection and early detection. She is currently principal investigator of a project developing and evaluating an innovative educational intervention for teens focused on sun safety text messaging.

In addition, Dr. Harris has worked with multidisciplinary research groups studying human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in men and women and arsenic exposures in Arizona and its potential relationships with cancer. She has been principal investigator of National Cancer Institute projects that focus on investigating geographical relationships between cancer incidence and exposure to arsenic in the state of Arizona as well as a binational study of arsenic exposures from water in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Over the past seven years, Dr. Harris has been working with a university-community partnership to evaluate cancer screening efforts among Native American men and women in Arizona and to implement appropriate survey methods for obtaining information for tribes about cancer knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.

Teaching Areas

Current courses include the Basic Epidemiology course for undergraduates and a graduate course in Chronic Disease Epidemiology. Over the past eight years, Dr. Harris has advised or served as graduate chair for over 50 master’s level students and 13 PhD students. 

Selected Publications

  1. Harris RB, Weissfeld L.  Gender differences in the reliability of reporting angina pectoris. Am J Clinical Epidemiol 1991; 44:1071-1087.
  2. Harris RB, Whittemore AS, Itnyre J, and the Collaborative Ovarian Cancer Group. Characteristics relating to ovarian cancer risk:  Collaborative analysis of 12 U.S. case-control studies.  III. Epithelial cancers of low malignant potential in white women. Am J Epidemiol 1992;136:1204-1211.
  3. Harris RB, Harris JM, Hultman J, Weingarten S.  Differences in charges for treatment of foot problems between podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons.  Am J Managed Care, 1997;3:1577-1583.
  4. Hakim I, Harris RB, Weisgerber U.  Tea intake and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin: Influence of type of tea beverage.  Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, 2000;9:727-731.
  5. Hakim IA,Harris RB. Joint effects of citrus peel use and black tea intake on the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. BMC Dermatology; 1: August 2001. PMCID: PMC45584.
  6. Harris RB, Griffith K, Moon TE.  Trends in incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancers in southeastern Arizona, 1985-1996. J Am Acad of Dermatol, 2001; 45: 528-536. PMID: 11568742.
  7. Giuliano AR, Harris R, Sedjo RL, Roe D, Baldwin S, Papenfuss MR, Abrahamsen M,    Inserra P, Olvera S, Hatch K. Incidence, prevalence, and clearance of type specific human papillomavirus infections: The Young Women’s Health Study. J Infect Dis 186(4): 462-9, 2002.
  8. Hakim IA, Harris RB, Brown S, Wiseman S, Agarwal S, Talbot W, Chow S. Effect of increased tea consumption on oxidative DNA damage among smokers: A randomized controlled study. J of Nutrition 33:3303S-3309S; 2003. PMID: 14519830.
  9. Harris RB, Alberts DA. Strategies for skin cancer prevention. J Intern Dermatology 2004; 43: 243-251. PMID: 15090005.
  10. Harris RB, Foote, JA, Hakim IA, Bronson D, Alberts DS.  Fatty Acid Composition of Red Blood Cell Membranes and Risk of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2005; 14(4): 906-912. PMID: 15824162.
  11. Nielson CM. Harris RB. Dunne EF. Abrahamsen M. Papenfuss MR. Flores R. Markowitz LE. Giuliano AR. Risk factors for anogenital human papillomavirus infection in men. J Infectious Diseases. 2007;196(8):1137-45.
  12. Giuliano AR, Lu B, Nielson CM, Flores R, Papenfuss MR, Lee JH, Abrahamsen M, Harris RB. Age Specific Prevalence, Incidence, and Duration of Human Papillomavirus Infections in a cohort of 290 US Men. J Infect Diseases, 2008; 198:1-9. PMID: 18657037
  13. Brown SR, Nuno T, Joshweseoma L,  Begay RC,  Goodluck C, Harris RB.  Impact of a community-based breast cancer screening program on Hopi women. Preventive Medicine.  52(5):390-3, 2011. PMID: 21371495
  14. Harris JM, Harris RB. Rampage violence requires new type of research. Am J Public Health. 2012; 102:1054–1057.doi:10.2105
  15. Roberge J, O'Rourke MK, Meza-Montenegro MM, Gutiérrez-Millán L, Burgess JL, Harris RB. Binational Arsenic Exposure Survey: Methodology and Exploration of the Relationship between Estimated Arsenic Intake from Drinking Water and Urinary Arsenic Concentrations. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 1051-1067; doi:10.3390/ijerph9041051.
  16. Pogreba-Brown K, Ernst, K, and Harris RBTeaching Epidemiology Concepts Experientially:  A ‘Real’ Foodborne Outbreak in the Classroom.  Public Health Reports.  2012 Sept-Oct ;127(5).
  17. Burgess JL, Kurzius-Spencer M, O’Rourke MK, Littau SR, Roberge J, Meza-Montenegro MM, Gutierrez-Millan LE, Harris RB. Environmental Arsenic Exposure and Serum Matrix Metalloproteinase-9. Environmental arsenic Exposure and Serum matrix metalloproteinase-9.  Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. 2013. 23(2):163-9.UI: 23232971
  18. Kurzius-Spencer, M., J.L. Burgess, RB Harris, V. Hartz, J. Roberge, S. Huang, C.H. Hsu, and M.K. O'Rourke, Contribution of diet to aggregate arsenic exposures-An analysis across populations. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol, 2013. UI: 23860400
  19. Pogreba-Brown K, McKeown K, Santana, S, Stewart J, Diggs A and Harris RB.  Public Health in the Field and the Emergency Operations Center:  Methods for Implementing Real Time On-Site Syndromic Surveillance at Large Public Events.  Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness.  October 2013.

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