Robin Harris, PhD, MPH

Professor, Public Health
Co-Director, Skin Cancer Institute
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-5357
Professional Bio: 

Robin B. Harris, MPH, PhD is Professor of Public Health in the Division 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 Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Prevention and Control
Member Status: 
Research Member
Year of Membership Acceptance: 
Summary of Research Activity: 

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:  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. She has also been a member of the Arizona Melanoma Task Force that identified substantial under-reporting of melanoma in Arizona and implemented effective strategies to address this issue.

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. Most recently, Dr. Harris became the principal investigator of one of the core research projects for the new NIEHS-EPA funded Center for Indigenous Environmental Health Research. This project builds on the prior partnerships with the Hopi Tribe with the experiences understanding arsenic exposures in Arizona (Cumulative Environmental Effects: Expanding Research with the Hopi Tribe). 

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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Davis R, Loescher LJ, Rogers J, Spartonos D, Snyder A, Koch S, Harris RB. Evaluation of project Students are Sun Safe (SASS): A university student-delivered skin cancer prevention program for schools. J Cancer Educ. 30(4):736-42, 2015 Dec
  14. Hingle MD, Snyder AL, McKenzie NE, Thomson CA, Logan RA, Ellison EA, Koch SP, Harris RB. Effects of an SMS-based skin cancer prevention campaign in adolescents, Am J Prevent Med. 47(5):617-23, 2014 Nov. PMID: 25053602
  15. Harris RB, Koch SM, Newton C, Silvis NG, Curiel-Lewandroski C, Giancola J, Sagerman P, Alder S, Yee G, Flood TJ. A public health partnership approach: Under-reporting of melanoma in Arizona and strategies for increasing reporting. Pub Hlth Reports. 130: 737-744, Nov-Dec 2015.


Academic Information

Post Doctoral: 
Epidemiology, University of Washington
Master's Degree: 
Public Health, University of Texas at Houston