Dr. Kathy Tossas is an assistant professor and Harrison Endowed Scholar in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy, with a joint appointment in Epidemiology, at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. She is also a member of the Massey Cancer Center where she is responsible for the Catchment Area Data Access and Alignment (CADA) initiatives. Her work and research are grounded in health equity, and center on elucidating how structural determinants of health such as differential access to care impact cancer outcomes for underserved and underrepresented populations (e.g. racial and ethnic, sexual gender and geographic minorities). Most recently, her research interests are focused on the use of machine learning methodologies to explore the potential influence of the microbiome on HPV-related cancers.
Prior to joining VCU, Dr. Tossas was a research assistant professor in the division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where she published 20 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, and served as co-PI for numerous NIH, and PI or co-PI for non-federally funded projects. She also served in various leadership roles within the UIC Cancer Center, including founding the Office of Global Assets and Innovative Approaches (GAIA), and the Office of Catchment Area Research and Data Sciences (CARDS), and serving as co-director for the Office of Community Engaged Research and Implementation Science (OCERIS), within the Community Outreach and Engagement program at the cancer center.
Before re-entering academia, Dr. Tossas held leadership positions at various non-profits. At the American Cancer Society she developed and deployed a $5 million statewide breast and colon cancer screening initiative for underserved populations. At the Health Research and Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association she oversaw the data management, analysis, and reporting operations for a $60 million portfolio of AHRQ, CMS, and CDC funded health care quality improvement initiatives. At the small non-profit Equal Hope within Rush University Hospital, she developed and deployed the first statewide mammography quality surveillance system. Dr. Tossas also spent nearly ten years at Abbott Molecular, across various roles, predominantly overseeing the development molecular diagnostic tests for infectious diseases. Dr. Tossas earned a BS in biology from the University of Puerto Rico (MARC and Howard Hughes scholar), an MS in microbiology and immunology from the University of Michigan (Rackham Merit fellow) and a PhD in cancer epidemiology from UIC (Susan G. Komen scholar).