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Camille Ragin, PhD

Camille Ragin, PhD, MPH grew up in Jamaica. She graduated from the St. Andrew High School for Girls in Kingston, Jamaica. Biology was her favorite subject, and so she was motivated toward pursuing a health science related career and attended Hunter College of the City University of New York. She graduated from Hunter College with a B.S. degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences. Subsequently, she completed the Medical Technology program at the Rockingham Memorial Hospital School of Medical Technology in Harrisonburg, Virginia and was certified by the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Because of her interest in infectious diseases and the field of public health, she aspired to be more than just a medical technologist and decided to pursue a career in biomedical research. She enrolled initially to pursue a Master of Science degree in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health. Recognizing her high potential mid-way through the program, her advisor and mentor, Dr. Phalguni Gupta, encouraged her to switch to the PhD degree tract, thus earning her a Ph.D. in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology in 2000. As Dr. Ragin’s doctoral studies came to a close, her Aunt Herma Hyacinth Veronica Rose Glasgow, born in Hillside, Jamaica, immigrated to the United States and succumbed to breast cancer on September 24, 2001, three months before Dr. Ragin completed her PhD training. A few weeks prior to her passing, her aunt told Dr. Ragin how proud she was of her scholastic accomplishments, and made one request. She told Dr. Ragin that she wanted her to pursue a career in research, more specifically cancer research. She said “I want you to fight this thing …cancer… I want you to do that research and find the cure…so that other people especially those in the Caribbean will not have to suffer the way I did…” (at that time cancer research was far from Dr. Ragin’s thoughts). Little did she know that the very thing that her aunt requested was what she would end up doing after all.

She earned a Ph.D. in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health and completed her postdoctoral training and MPH degree in Epidemiology as part of the NIH/NCI-funded Cancer Education and Career Development Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Camille’s current research focuses on the molecular epidemiology of Cancer in the African Diaspora (populations that originate from the continent of Africa (African American and African Caribbean and Africans).

Beyond her own research group, Camille serves as the consummate collaborator, bringing together researchers from around the world to promote public health research. In 2006, she established the African-Caribbean Cancer Consortium, a research group designed to build collaborations between cancer researchers who focus their work on the African diaspora. In this effort, she is principal investigator of the Cancer Prevention Project of Philadelphia, a multicultural community-based cohort consisting of US- and foreign-born persons of African descent and is also the co-principal investigator of an international cohort in Jamaica - The LIFE Project - which focuses on cancer and cardiovascular disease risk. In the US, Camille is a member of the Jamaica Diaspora Northeast Health Sector, where she serves as the Diaspora Health Liaison for the State of Pennsylvania.

Recognizing the public health significance of cancer in populations of African origin, and socio-cultural factors that influence disparities in health outcomes, Camille has fostered collaborative research by leading numerous multi-national pooling data initiatives to examine genetic, molecular, and environmental contribution in carcinogenesis among populations of African origin. She is the recipient of an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award and a number of National Institutes of Health and Foundation grants. She is also the recipient of the 2016 Cancer Control Award from the American Cancer Society, Greater Philadelphia Area. In partnership with researchers at The University of the West Indies – Mona, Jamaica, she was Co-PI of a strategic planning grant from the National Cancer Institute to establish a Caribbean Regional Center for Research Excellence (CRCRE), focused on cancer research in the Caribbean. The CRCRE in Jamaica focuses research of cancer and cardiometabolic disease.

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