Catharine Wang

Associate Professor, Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health

Dr. Wang is an Associate Professor in the Community Health Sciences Department, and a Peter T. Paul Career Development Professor, at Boston University. She obtained her doctorate in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan. Dr. Wang’s research interests are in the areas of public health genomics, health communication, health literacy, and cancer prevention and control. She currently serves as a member of the National Cancer Institute’s PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Dr. Wang’s ongoing research is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). One primary research area focuses on examining methods to effectively communicate genetic and environmental risk information for public health promotion and disease prevention. She received funding from NHGRI to examine how communicating genetic risk for obesity might influence efforts to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors.

Dr. Wang is also the Principal Investigator on a NCI-K07 award to examine the impact of genetic and environmental risk information on modifying causal attributions for colorectal cancer, which may subsequently influence relevant cancer screening and lifestyle behaviors. In addition, Dr. Wang is seeking ways to translate genomic discoveries into clinical and public health practice. She is a collaborative investigator on the Family Healthware Impact Trial (FHITr), which sets out to evaluate the clinical utility of a self-administered, web-based tool that assesses familial risk for six common diseases and provides a prevention plan with personalized recommendations for lifestyle changes and screening. Dr. Wang is also conducting research to examine barriers to genetic literacy (i.e., understanding and using family history for public health prevention) among underserved populations. She is collaborating with clinicians and informaticians at Boston Medical Center to adapt and integrate a systematic family history data collection tool into an electronic health record system to facilitate the use of family history as a vehicle for personalized medicine.