Dorothy Rhoades, MD, MPH

Director of American Indian Cancer Research Initiatives

Dorothy Rhoades, MD, MPH, is the Director of American Indian Cancer Research Initiatives for the Stephenson Cancer Center and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Rhoades’ past research has focused on expanding partnerships with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, equipping AI/AN investigators for successful research careers, and promoting a program of research that holds promise for reducing the disparities in health status and care within these special populations.
Rhoades received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco and her public health degree from the University of Washington. She went on to complete the Native Investigator Development program at the University of Colorado Health Sciences for additional training in American Indian health research.
She then became faculty for the Native Investigator program, a role she continues today as mentor for American Indian junior investigators embarking on research careers in American Indian health. Her current research focuses on American Indian cancer disparities. She is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.


Master of Public Health: Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, WA
Medical School: University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, San Franscico, CA

Grant Funding:

Current Funding

1P20CA202921Spicer (PI) 9/24/15-8/31/19
Cherokee Nation/Stephenson Cancer Center Collaborative on Cancer Disparities (NCI)
The four-year collaboration between the Cherokee Nation and the Stephenson Cancer Center has the explicit goal of creating the capacity to address tobacco-related cancer disparities in the Cherokee Nation through a linked program of pilot research, training and education for new investigators and students. 

Role: (Rhoades) Pilot Project Co-Lead for “Vaping among Smokers: A Cherokee Nation Cohort Study.” The use of electronic cigarettes has not been examined among American Indians who smoke. This study will characterize how dual use of electronic cigarettes affects patterns of smoking, nicotine addiction, and toxicant exposures over time for adult American Indians who smoke.

Comiford (PI) 7/1/2016-6/30/17
Combustible Tobacco and PREPs Use Among American Indian Smokeless Tobacco Users (Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources).
Pilot study of smokeless tobacco users to determine prevalence of their concomitant use of other tobacco products as well as markers of nicotine addiction. Collaboration with Cherokee Nation.
Role: Investigator

Completed Funding (past 5 years)

Rhoades (PI) 7/1/2014 – 12/31/2014 (Stephenson Cancer Center)
Electronic Cigarettes among American Indian Youth
Study of American Indian youth regarding electronic cigarette attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs, as well as correlation with nicotine and tobacco biomarkers. Co-investigators: Mark P. Doescher, MD, MSPH; Theodore Wagener, PhD; Laura Beebe, PhD.
Role: Principal Investigator

Doescher (PI) 4/2013-5/31/2013
Choctaw Nation Youth Sun Exposure Survey
Survey of American Indian and non-Indian middle and high school students regarding attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs regarding exposure to the sun and tanning behavior.
Role: Investigator (in-kind)

Selected Publications:

Comiford A, Rhoades DA, Ding K, Dvorak J, Wagener T, Doescher M. P20 MS1. In preparation, Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Rhoades DA, Comiford A, Dvorak J, Ding K, Wagener T, Doescher M. Factors associated with vaping among American Indians who smoke. In preparation, Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Wu F, Rainwater E, Khan A, Rhoades DA, Doescher MP. Patient views on the role of the primary care provider in discussing electronic cigarettes. Submission pending to Annals of Family Medicine

Deen JF, Rhoades DA, Noonan C, Best LG, Okin PM, Devereux RB, Umans JG. Comparison of QRS duration and associated cardiovascular events in American Indian men versus women (The Strong Heart Study). In press: Am J Cardiol June, 2017

Rhoades DA, Hawkins M, Norton B, Branam D, Cannady T, Dvorak J, Ding K, Olson A, Doescher MP.  Choctaw Nation youth sun exposure survey. Revise/resubmit Preventive Medicine Reports

Rhoades DA, Wagener TL, Beebe LA, Ding K, Dvorak J, Hopkins M, Doescher MP. Electronic cigarette use among American Indian youth. Revise/resubmit Tobacco Regulatory Science

Rhoades, DA, et al. Cancer Mortality in a Population-Based Cohort of American Indians - The Strong Heart Study. In preparation, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention

Best LG; García-Esquinas E, Yeh JL; Yeh F, Zhang Y Lee ET, Howard BV, Farley JH, Welty TK, Rhoades DA, Rhoades ER, Umans JG, Navas-Acien A. Association of diabetes and cancer mortality in American Indians: The Strong Heart Study. Cancer Causes and Control. DOI 10.1007/s10522-015-0648-7. Published online ahead of print 07 August 2015.

Bassett DR, Nelson L, Rhoades DA, Krantz EM, Omidpanah, A. A national study of social networks and perceptions of health among urban American Indian/Alaska Natives and Non-Hispanic Whites. J Biosoc Sci. 2014 Jul; 46(4):556-9. PMID: 24999507

Rhoades ER, Rhoades DA. The public health foundation of health services for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Am J Public Health. 2014 Jun; 104 Suppl 3:S278-85. PMID: 24758580