Kevin Cassel, DrPH

Kevin Cassel, DrPH

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Faculty Director, Community Outreach and Engagement, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Full Member, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Prevention in the Pacific), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Associate Professor (Associate Researcher), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

DrPH, Community-based Translational Research, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Department of Public Health, Honolulu, HI
MPH, Epidemiology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Department of Public Health, Honolulu, HI

Research Focus

Over the past decade cancer incidence and mortality rates have declined in the US, however cancer-related health disparities by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic location still exist. Dr. Cassel's research explores ways to implement effective cancer control interventions by working with communities experiencing cancer health disparities. Dr. Cassel uses community-based participatory research methods to:

  1. Develop and test ways to improve clinical trials participation.
  2. Adapt and test cancer prevention and control interventions in medically underserved communities.
  3. Engage with young people to adapt and test cancer prevention interventions.

This line of research may have a substantial impact on reducing cancer health disparities and the overall burden of cancer in Hawaiʻi and the U. S. Associated Pacific Island jurisdictions.

Selected Publications

Willingham ML Jr, Spencer SYPK, Lum CA, Navarro Sanchez JM, Burnett T, Shepherd J, Cassel K. (2021). The potential of using artificial intelligence to improve skin cancer diagnoses in Hawai'i's multiethnic population. Melanoma Res; Dec 1;31(6):504-514. PubMed PMID: 34744150; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8580213.

Cassel K, Willingham M, Lee HR, Somera LP, Badowski G, Pagano I. (2020). Acculturation and Cancer Risk Behaviors among Pacific Islanders in Hawaii. Ethn Dis; Sep 24;30(4):593-602. doi: 10.18865/ed.30.4.593. eCollection 2020 Fall.PMID: 32989359.

Okado I, Cassel K, Pagano I, Holcombe RF. (2020). Assessing Patients' Perceptions of Cancer Care Coordination in a Community-Based Setting. JCO Oncol Pract; Aug;16(8):e726-e733. doi: 10.1200/JOP.19.00509. Epub 2020 Mar 27. PMID: 32216713.

Cassel KD, Hughes C, Higuchi P, Lee P, Fagan P, Lono J, Ho R, Wong N, Brady SK, Ahuna W.(2020). No Ke Ola Pono o Nā Kāne: A Culturally Grounded Approach to Promote Health Improvement in Native Hawaiian Men. Am J Mens Health; Jan-Feb;14(1):1557988319893886. doi: 10.1177/1557988319893886. PMID: 32008466.

Lee HR, Lee HE, Cassel K, Hagiwara MI, Somera LP. (2019). Protective Effect of Biculturalism for Health Amongst Minority Youth: The Case of Pacific Islander Migrant Youths in Hawaiʻi. Br J Soc Work; Jun;49(4):1003-1022. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcz042. Epub 2019 Apr 25. PMID: 31308577 [PubMed].

Cassel KD, Tran DA, Murakami-Akatsuka L, Tanabe-Hanzawa J, Burnett T, Lum C. (2018). Adapting a Skin Cancer Prevention Intervention for Multiethnic Adolescents. Am J Health Behav; Mar 1;42(2):36-49. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.42.2.4. PMID: 29458513 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

K. Cassel, Core Co-PI; N. Palafox, R. Holcombe, Co-PIs
NIH/NCI U54 CA143727
“Pacific Island Partnership for Cancer Health Equity (PIPCHE) – Community Outreach Core”
The objectives of the Community Outreach Core are to include Pacific Island Populations’ community perspectives to assist and promote the research of the Partnership, build the competencies of healthcare providers serving Pacific Island Populations, and help train new cadres of cancer researchers and care providers from Pacific Island Populations.
09/01/2020 – 08/31/2025

K. Cassel, Co-Investigator; R. Yanagihara, PI
NIH / 3P30GM114737-05S1
“Puipuia le Ola: Increasing reach and uptake of COVID-19 testing among Pacific Islanders in Hawaiʻi and Guam”
This National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded project, intends to develop, disseminate, and evaluate culturally tailored and linguistically correct appropriate community-engagement strategies to increase the reach and uptake of COVID-19 testing and to better understand SARS-CoV-2 infection patterns among Pacific Islanders in Hawaiʻi and on Guam.
12/01/2020 – 12/31/2022

K. Cassel, PI
UG1CA189823 - Alliance NCORP Research Base Subaward
“Improving Quality Of Life For Colorectal Cancer Patients And Their Caregivers.”
This study examines whether providing an educational curriculum will increase the ability of caregivers to be active participants of the therapeutic team for cancer patients and improve the quality of life for patients and their caregivers.
10/01/2020 - 7/31/2022

K. Cassel, Project PI; R. Holcombe, PI
NIH/NCI, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center CCSG
“Strengthening Community Outreach Capacity at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center”
This project will utilize a Community Health Educator (CHE) at UH Cancer Center to extend use of evidence-based, community engagement and education strategies to provide underserved populations with culturally and linguistically appropriate information on clinical trials, HPV, and the HPV vaccine.
07/01/2019 – 06/30/2022

K. Cassel, PI
Ke Ola Mamo (Native Hawaiian Health Care System of Oahu)
“Kū Ola”
Uses the hale mua concept since 2010 to establish health­ activated support groups for Hawaiian men using Hawaiian cultural values. This project intends to expand the scope and capacity of the hale mua using technology and innovation. We will focus on enriching the cultural and health promotional aspects of No Ke Ola Pono o Nā Kāne by providing a permanent venue to convene kāne for the regularly scheduled delivery of our cultural and educational modules.
7/1/2021 - 6/30/2022