Parisa Tehranifar, DrPH

  • Associate Professor of Epidemiology at CUMC
Profile Headshot


Parisa Tehranifar, DrPH has training in sociomedical sciences and cancer epidemiology. Dr. Tehranifar's broad research interests are in cancer health disparities and breast cancer prevention. One area of her work focuses on understanding the contribution of emerging medical interventions as a source of health disparities, and includes an ongoing study that examines the role of breast density disclosure in relation to breast cancer screening disparities. She collaborates on several lifecourse studies of breast cancer, in which she examines the role of social factors in shaping adult cancer risk and risk factors, focusing on smoking as a behavioral risk factor, mammographic breast density as a biomarker of breast cancer risk, and DNA methylation as an epigenetic mechanism for health disparities. More recently, her research focuses on midlife as a critical lifecourse stage for breast cancer risk, and includes several studies of determinants and distribution of mammographic density in women of racially/ethnically diverse and predominantly immigrant backgrounds. She is also working on integration of mammographic density in clinical risk assessment. Dr. Tehranifar's current research is supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. She is the Director of the Executive MS in Epidemiology Program and teaches a course on applied epidemiologic research methods within this program.

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Epidemiology at CUMC

Administrative Titles

  • Director, DrPH Program, Epidemiology
  • Member, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Cancer Population Science Program
  • Faculty advisor, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Office of Community Outreach and Engagement

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 1991 Hunter College, City University of New York
  • MPH, 1996 Hunter College, City University of New York
  • DrPH, 2004 Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
  • Fellowship: 2009 Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health
  • Fellowship: 2009 National Cancer Institute

Committees, Societies, Councils

Co-Chair Scholar Support Committee and Investigator Member, Cancer Disparities Research Network

American Society for Preventive Oncology, Cancer Health Disparities Special Interest Group Leadership Council

American Association for Cancer Research

Fellow, NCI Training Institute for Dissemination & Implementation Research in Cancer, 2018

Tow Leadership Scholar 2018-2021

Editorial Boards

Behavioral Medicine


Research Interests

  • Chronic disease
  • Community Health
  • Public Health Education
  • Urban Health

Selected Publications

Pacsi-Sepulveda AL, Shelton RC, Rodriguez CB, Coq AT, Tehranifar P. "You probably can't feel as safe as normal women": Hispanic women's reactions to breast density notification. Cancer. 2019 Jun 15;125(12):2049-2056. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32002. PMID: 30768781

Tehranifar P. Rodriguez CB, April-Sanders A, Schmitt K, Desperito E. Migration history, language acculturation and mammographic breast Density. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarker Prevention. 2018 Feb 23. pii: cebp.0885.2017. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-17-0885

Tehranifar P, Protacio A, Schmitt K, Desperito E, Oskar S, Potter AJ, Engmann NJ, Terry MB. The metabolic syndrome and mammographic breast density in a racially diverse and predominantly immigrant sample of women. Cancer Causes Control 2015 Oct;26(10):1393-403. doi: 10.1007/s10552-015-0630-4. PMID: 26169301

Tehranifar P, Goyal A, Phelan JC, Link BG, Liao Y, Fan X, Desai M, Terry MB. Age at cancer diagnosis, amenability to medical interventions, and racial/ethnic disparities in cancer mortality. Cancer Causes Control. 2016 Apr;27(4):553-60. doi: 10.1007/s10552-016-0729-2. PMID: 26970741

Tehranifar P, Neugut AI, Phelan JC, Link GB, Liao Y, Desai M, Terry MB. Medical Advances and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Cancer Survival. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prevention. 2009 Oct;18(10):2701-8. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0305. PMID: 19789367

*Brotzman LE, Shelton RC, Austin JD, Rodriguez CB, Agovino M, Moise N, Tehranifar P. “It’s something I’ll do until I die”: A qualitative examination into why older women continue mammography screening. Cancer Med. 2022;00:1-9. doi: 10.1002/cam4.4758

Acheampong T, Kehm RD, Terry MB, Lee Argov E, Tehranifar P. Incidence Trends of Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes by Age and Race/Ethnicity in the US From 2010 to 2016. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Aug 3;3(8):e2013226. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.13226. PMID: 32804214 PMCID: PMC7431997.

Akinyemiju TF, Genkinger JM, Farhat M, Wilson A. Gary-Webb TL, Tehranifar P. Residential environment and breast cancer incidence and mortality: a systematic review and meta analysis. BMC Cancer. 2015; 28;15:191.

Tehranifar P, Wu HC, Shriver T, Cloud AJ, Terry MB. Validation of family cancer history data in high-risk families: the influence of cancer site, ethnicity, kinship degree, and multiple family reporters, Am J Epidemiol 2015;181(3):204-12.

Tehranifar P, Wu HC, Fan X, Flom JD, Ferris JS, Cho YH, Gonzalez K, Santella RM, Terry MB. Early life socioeconomic factors and genomic DNA methylation in mid-life. Epigenetics 2013; 8(1):23-7

Phelan JC, Link BG, Tehranifar P Social conditions as fundamental causes of health inequalities: theory, evidence, and policy implications. J Health Soc Behav 51 Suppl S28-40 2010

Urban Health Activities

New York Mammographic Density (NY MaDe) Study: This ongoing study investigates mammographic breast density and breast cancer screening and prevention behaviors in a socially diverse population.

Rethink Initiative: This project focuses on understanding and addressing the over-use of breast cancer screening in older women.

Improve Chronic disease Outcomes through Multi-level and Multi-generational approaches Unifying Novel Interventions and Training for health EquitY (COMMUNITY) Center: The mission of the COMMUNITY Center is to reduce health disparities in multiple chronic diseases in the New York City Region through research and sustainable interventions that incorporate individual, interpersonal, community and societal approaches.