Staff: Minal Patel, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Minal Patel

Minal Patel, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Former Fellow, Transitioned Outside of the Program

Cancer Prevention Fellow
Former Organization:

Minal Patel, Ph.D., M.P.H., was a Cancer Prevention Fellow within the Behavioral Research Program (BRP) of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Patel has a broad spectrum of research interests, with a particular focus on the impact of social, built, and policy environments on lifestyle behaviors and the relation to cancer. Dr. Patel used her unique interdisciplinary research approach while working with both the Health Behaviors Research Branch (HBRB) and the Tobacco Control Research Branch (TCRB) to explore and better understand contextual factors related to cancer, focusing in particular on young adults and adolescents and underserved communities.

Before she joined BRP, Dr. Patel's research experience focused on health disparities and cancer prevention. Dr. Patel has participated in a variety of quantitative and qualitative research projects, ranging from large-scale epidemiological studies to community-based participatory research (CBPR) behavioral intervention projects. Related studies have addressed breast, cervical, and colorectal screening among low-income populations, youth tobacco use, and physical activity and nutrition in the workplace. Her research emphasis on the contextual factors including the built environment and the utilization of geographic information systems allows her to explore further dimensions of cancer prevention related to health behaviors.

Dr. Patel worked on bridging her interests in understanding health behaviors related to cancer prevention and multilevel factors involving neighborhood contextual and lifestyle factors by collaborating with researchers across the NCI and NIH to better understand health behavior change.

Dr. Patel earned a bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree in public health from San Diego State University with a specialization in health promotion and behavioral sciences. She completed her Ph.D. in public health in the Department of Community Health Sciences, with a minor in urban planning, at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation research utilized a mixed-methods approach using CBPR to address the role of the meso- and micro- social, policy, and built environments on tobacco use among residents of transitional homeless shelters in Los Angeles County.

In July 2018, Dr. Patel became Director of Research at the Truth Initiative.


Current and/or past BRP mentors include Linda Nebeling.


Selected Publications and Presentations