Neal A Palafox, MD, MPH

Neal A. Palafox, MD, MPH

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Full Member, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Prevention in the Pacific), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Professor, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Prevention in the Pacific), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

MD, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
MPH, International Health, John Hopkins University

Research Focus

The last 25 years of Dr. Palafox's career has been focused on improving health capacity and health policy toward reducing health disparities in the populations of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the other US-Affiliated Pacific Island (USAPI) jurisdictions of the Territories of American Samoa and Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia. This work has been done utilizing a community-based, participatory approach and developing key partnerships with health leadership, policy-makers and community advocates throughout the USAPI and with Micronesian communities in Hawaiʻi. These efforts have resulted in US Center for Disease Control (CDC)-funded Comprehensive Cancer Control programs in each of the USAPI jurisdictions and the USAPI region, in the development of a Pacific Regional Central Cancer Registry and in a Pacific Center of Excellence in the elimination of disparities in breast and cervical cancer in USAPI populations.

The Pacific Regional Central Cancer Registry was developed in partnership with the Hawaiʻi Tumor Registry (a program of the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center) and the University of Guam (the minority institution partner in the National Cancer Institute U54 Minority Institution/Cancer Center Partnership grant).

Selected Publications

Ekeroma, A, Dyer R, Palafox N, Maoate K, Skeen J, Foliaki S, Vallely AJ, Fong J, Hibma M, Mola G, Reichhardt M, Taulung L, Aho G, Fakakovikaetau T, Watters D, Toliman PJ, Buenconsejo-Lum L, Sarfati D. (2019). Cancer management in the Pacific region: a report on innovation and good practice. The Lancet Oncology; Aug. DOI:

Palafox NA, Given L, Hohman K, Taitano JR, Hedson J, Buenconsejo-Lum LE, Gunawardane K, Baksa J, Reichhardt M. (2018). Comprehensive cancer control planning in the Pacific: the Cancer Council of the Pacific Islands a multi-national regional coalition. Cancer Causes Control; Dec:1-9. DOI: 10.1007/s10552-018-1115-z NIHMSID: 1001562 PMID: 30535525 PMCID: PMC6311141.

Palafox NA, Reichhardt M, Taitano JR, Nitta M, Garstang H, Riklon S, Taulung L, Buenconsejo-Lum LE. (2018). A Socio-Ecological Framework for Cancer Control in the Pacific: A Community Case Study of the US Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions 1997-2017. Front. Public Health; Nov;6:313. DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00313 PMID: 30483488 PMCID: PMC6243120.

Nitta M, Navasca D, Tareg A, Palafox N. (2017). Cancer Risk Reduction in the US Affiliated Pacific Islands: Utilizing a Novel Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) Approach. Cancer Epidemiology; October; 50(Pt B):278-282. PMID: 29120837 DOI: 10.1016/j.canep.2017.08.008.

Palafox NA, Hixon AL. (2011). The Health Consequences of Disparity: The US Affiliated Pacific Islands. Australasian Psychiatry; 19(Suppl1) S:84-9. PMID: 21878029 DOI: 10.3109/10398562.2011.583072.

Publication list via PubMed