isabel scarinciIsabel Scarinci, Ph.D., MPH, has been named vice chair for Global and Rural Health for the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN). Scarinci is a professor in the Department of OB/GYN, senior advisor and scientist at the UAB O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, and holds positions in over 11 UAB centers including the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), Center for Women’s Reproductive Health (CWRH), Center for AIDS Research, Minority Health and Research Center (MHRC), and the Sparkman Center for Global Health.

As vice chair, Scarinci will work to increase global visibility of the department and its bi-directional approach to global and rural health – making it a desired destination for residents and fellows to gain unmatched training, clinical experience, and research opportunities.

“This is something unique with our department,” says Scarinci. “We believe training our people on a global outlook and different environments will better equip them to be well-rounded clinicians, researchers, and educators.”

This bi-directional approach creates opportunities to extend women’s health research and resources to other countries, take what is learned, bring the information back home, and apply it in local communities - particularly rural settings. Likewise, studies and research being done in rural Alabama and other local areas are being taken and applied internationally. The outcomes are positively affecting other countries and local communities at the same time.

When it comes to research and education, it is common practice to take the concluded data and establish evidence-based strategies. Scarinci says they are beyond that.

“We are implementing these strategies in the real world,” says Scarinci “We are taking the evidence we establish and using it to inform, assist, and support other countries to implement it, taking into account the local context and available resources.”

This innovative approach is turning evidence into sustainable actions that are impacting lives internationally and in Alabama.

Scarinci has extensive experience and expertise when it comes to global and rural health, particularly in the development of cervical cancer prevention and tobacco control in low-resource settings, including rural areas. Her work in cervical cancer prevention, specifically, led to her being named one of Rotary International’s six People of Action: Champions of Health for 2021.

Scarinci is actively engaged in a project to end cervical center in Sri Lanka by means of HPV vaccination and screening. The project also includes training midwives to guide women during the screening process through a partnership between the Rotary Club of Birmingham, Rotary Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and UAB. The impact of this project could transform cervical cancer screenings going forward – both globally and locally.

“There are subtle differences in the global population and rural Alabama,” says Warner K. Huh, M.D., FACOG, FACS, chair of the UAB Department of OB/GYN. “Both are massively underserved. Dr. Scarinci’s title as vice chair specifies global and rural, because there are lessons that are learned and portable to either side.”

Scarinci’s extensive research of the rural Deep South population combined with her global health expertise will allow for continued growth of the department’s bi-directional approach and efforts.

“The department’s vision is to be a leader in women’s health locally, nationally, and globally through excellence in clinical care, research, and education” says Huh. “As vice chair, Dr. Scarinci will be able to identify local and international needs, lead our global and rural health efforts, and increase our impact in other countries, as well as our own backyard.”

Dr. Scarinci has a Masters in Public Health from UAB, as well as a Masters in Psychology and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University. She completed her internship in Clinical Psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and joined UAB in 2002.