Angela Sy, DrPH

Angela Sy, DrPH

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Associate Member, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Prevention in the Pacific), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Associate Professor, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Associate Professor, Undergraduate Honors Program, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

DrPH, Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
MPH, Public Health, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Research Focus

Angela Sy conducts research on cancer disparities among Asian and Pacific Islanders with a focus on colorectal cancer prevention, community engaged research and program evaluation. Her research expertise and interest is in identifying, developing, implementing, and evaluating cancer prevention interventions for Asians and Pacific Islanders that are community and culturally relevant (e.g. health literacy, social networks). She is a Co-Investigator of the Community Engagement Core of the NCI funded Pacific Island Partnership for Cancer Health Equity and a member of the Cancer Center Community Outreach and Education team. Angela serves as the Evaluator of the NHGRI Pacific Center for Genome Research. She is also involved with NHI funded student research training and mentoring initiatives: T37 Minority Health Research Training and T34 Maximizing Access to Research Careers. She previously served as a mentor for George Washington University Cancer Center Mentorship Program where she worked with a mentee from Palau. Angela was a Co-Investigator of a National Institutes of Minority Health and Health Disparities American Samoa Indigenous Partnership to Initiate Research Excellence in Colorectal Cancer Health Literacy (PI - Victor Tofaeono, MD) to increase research capacity in and to assess colorectal cancer screening literacy in American Samoa.

Selected Publications

Ravi K, Kaur T, Khan AS, Pope B, Nguyen KY, Muralidhar K, Krupp K, Hernandez BY, Angela S, Madhivanan P. and Nerurkar VR. (2023). Oral Human Papillomavirus Infection among Smokeless Tobacco-using Tribal Women in Mysuru, India. Indian Journal of Community Medicine, 48(5), pp.775-780.

Rieth K, Sy A, McIntosh S, Ikerdu E, Cupertino AP, Dye T, Martina C. (2023). Dental health utilization in Palau: feasibility of an oral cancer screening program. Annals of Global Health; 89(1): 60, 1–13. DOI:

Willingham ML Jr, Sy A, Taafaki M, Bodnar R, Diaz TP, Somera LP, Porte CL, Ceria-Ulep CD, Pingul A, Bissell J, Cassel KD. (2023). Utilizing Filipino key informants to guide community outreach for cancer prevention in Hawai'i. Public Health Nurs. Aug 2. doi: 10.1111/phn.13234. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37530122.

Tofaeono V, Tong K, Sy A, Cassel K, Pagano I, Ka'opua LSI, Scanlan L, Thompson L, Vaofanua T, McCutchan JB, Tofaeono V. (2022). Validation of the Short-Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults for the Samoan Population. Health Lit Res Pract. Oct;6(4):e247-e256. doi: 10.3928/24748307-20220920-01. Epub 2022 Oct 6. PMID: 36215110; PMCID: PMC9545820.

Duong D, Agraviador D, Cariou C, George M, Karanja M, Kashima K, Kerch S, Khalaf M, Love B, McCauley-Hixenbaugh L, Phillips S, Ramirez S, Sy A, Tutii I, Van Kirk Villalobos A, Pratt-Chapman ML. (2022). Results of the George Washington University cancer center's comprehensive cancer control cancer communication mentorship program and implications for future practice. Cancer Causes Control. Jul;33(7):995-1003.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

Wu, Deng, MPIs
Pacific Center for Genome Research (PCGR)
PCGR is designed to advance Genomic Research workforce at a Minority Serving Institution with a mission to serve historically underrepresented population in biomedical research, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.
Role: Evaluator
08/01/23 – 07/31/28

Nerurkar, PI
One Health Research Training Curriculum for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Students
This supplement proposal complements the existing MARC@UHM training program for undergraduate students by integrating the concept of One Health and application of the One Health approach to address complex challenges in human health, animal health, and their shared environment.
Role: Evaluator
05/01/23 – 05/01/24

Ola Hawaii: Research Centers in Minority Institutions
The objective is to grow and support a community of health disparities investigators to harness the power of diverse thought to determine the causes of and interventions for health disparities.
Role: Evaluator
09/01/97 – 06/30/27

Kaholokula, Palafox, MPIs
U54 GM138062
Center for Pacific Innovations, Knowledge, and Opportunities (PIKO)
The goal of PIKO will be to build a robust clinical and translational research (CTR) infrastructure that directly improves the health and wellbeing of indigenous Pacific People (IPP), defined as Native Hawaiians, Other Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos, and other underserved populations.
Role: Program Director Tracking and Evaluation Core
7/01/21 – 06/30/26

Nerurkar, PI
Minority Access to Research Training (MARC) @ University of Hawaii at Manoa
This training grant encourages underrepresented undergraduate students in the sciences to seek research careers in the biomedical research.
Role: Assistant Program Director
06/01/2021 – 05/31/2026

Nerurkar, Kaholokula, MPIs
International Biomedical Research Training for Hawaiian and Pacific Island Students (NIH/NIMHD)
The goal of this training grant is to teach underrepresented minority students in Hawai‘i, primarily of Hawaiian, Pacific Island and Filipino descent, basic concepts in biomedical research
Role: Program Administrator and Evaluator
12/1/2013 – 11/30/2025

Palafox, PI
Pacific Island Partnership for Cancer Health Equity (PIPCHE) (NIH/NCI)
The PIPCHE Community Outreach Core will build on the 2003-2015 University of Guam/University of Hawaii Cancer Center Comprehensive Partnership efforts to prevent and control cancer in Pacific Islander communities through established community partnerships.
Role: Community Outreach Core Co-Investigator
09/01/2019 – 08/31/2024

Kirken, PI, Mancera, PD
Border Biomedical Research Center, University of Texas at El Paso (NIH/NIMHD)
The goal of the Community Engagement Core is to build a sustainable infrastructure that fosters investigative collaboration and translation of project findings throughout the scientific community and the Paso del Norte border region.
Role: Community Engagement Core External Evaluator
08/01/2019 – 02/29/2024