Abraham Aragones, M.D., M.S.
Associate Member, CDI
As a health disparities researcher with a keen interest in developing models to enhance cancer screening and prevention in minority populations, Dr. Aragones's work revolves around designing community-based interventions that utilize tailored communication techniques to tackle cancer health disparities prevalent among Latino populations. The focus of his research centers on the creation and evaluation of interventions aimed at increasing the community's demand for cancer prevention methods. This involves fostering collaboration between academia, community-based organizations, and primary care providers who serve large minority populations, with the ultimate aim of effectively educating the population, promoting risk reduction and behavioral change, and ultimately improving cancer prevention, early detection, and cancer outcomes among these groups. His immediate plan involves leveraging the extensive body of his current work to establish collaborations with local, national, and international organizations, as well as create awareness about cancer prevention within Latino populations to pursue the goal of achieving health equity for disadvantaged populations.
Over the course of fifteen years, Dr. Aragones has actively worked with Latino populations in New York City to address the burden of cancer disparities, particularly focusing on HPV-driven cancers and colorectal cancer. With support from an NCI R03 grant, institutional awards, U54 and R01 funding, he and his team have implemented various research projects aimed at increasing the utilization of the HPV vaccine and other cancer prevention and early detection methods. These projects employ different methodologies, ranging from qualitative to quantitative approaches, and encompass multiple perspectives and settings to address the issue of cancer disparities. Their work involves collaborations with community-based organizations, primary care providers serving Latino populations in large public hospitals, small community clinics, private practices, as well as organizations that advocate for policies supporting improved access to healthcare.
At the forefront of his current and future work is the endeavor to address the low uptake of the HPV vaccine and, consequently, low HPV cancer prevention rates. Despite the significant advantages of preventing HPV infection and the mounting evidence demonstrating the vaccine's efficacy in preventing cancer, vaccine uptake among eligible adolescents in the United States and New York City remains below optimal levels. Over the past decade, the incidence and prevalence of HPV-driven cancers, as well as the associated disparities, have continued to rise. Given the current evidence supporting the need for multifaceted approaches to increase HPV vaccination rates, they strongly believe that cancer centers should prioritize addressing this issue with the attainable goal of eradicating some of the cancers caused by HPV in the next generation. To pursue these goals, Dr. Aragones is actively engaged in various health programs, research projects, communication strategies, collaborations, and policy initiatives aimed at achieving health equity for low-resource populations.