Trained as a medical anthropologist, Dr. Robin T. Higashi specializes in using qualitative methods to evaluate and optimize health services delivery and health outcomes for underserved populations. She is Multi-Principal Investigator (with MPI Hogan) for a study funded by the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center to evaluate implementation of telehealth during the COVID-19 era and to identify best practices for delivering cancer care to those with limited digital health literacy beyond the pandemic. Dr. Higashi also serves as Co-Investigator on several large mixed methods interventional studies, including: optimizing cervical cancer screening (NCI UM1CA221940 Tiro/Haas/Kamineni, NCI 1R01CA178414-01 Tiro/Baldwin), evaluating connection to care needs among the rural uninsured (NIH P30CA142543 Arteaga), preventing hepatocellular cancer by optimizing hepatitis C virus screening (CPRIT PP150079 Singal), and coordinating care for cancer survivors with multiple comorbidities (NIH 5R01CA20385602 Lee/Balasubramanian). 

Leveraging her fluency in Spanish, Dr. Higashi regularly leads qualitative research with Spanish-speakers, who comprise approximately 34% of Dallas County’s population. She works closely with the Department of Population & Data Sciences' Spanish Language Validation Resource to promote accuracy and confirm conceptual equivalence in understanding of English and Spanish study materials. This process enhances quality using a systematic, evidence-based process that includes comprehensive literacy testing, forward and back translation, validation, identification of problematic concepts and phrases, and cognitive testing with the target audience. 

Dr. Higashi remains actively involved in teaching and mentoring clinical faculty and research staff new to qualitative methods. She regularly conduct lectures at UT Southwestern Medical School to increase student and trainee awareness of challenges faced by stigmatized populations, including those served by Parkland, our safety net institution. These teaching and mentoring activities further the capacity of the institution to conduct rigorous qualitative research and to work more effectively with underserved populations.


Stanford University (1998), Psychology
Graduate School
Uni of California-Sfrancisco (2010), Medical Anthropology

Research Interest

  • digital health literacy and access to telehealth
  • impact of structural inequality on health experience and outcomes
  • mixed methods program evaluation
  • Spanish-speaking (im)migrant populations


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Anal cancer screening among women with HIV: provider experiences and system-level challenges.
Higashi RT, Rodriguez SA, Betts AC, Tiro JA, Luque AE, Rivera R, Barnes A, AIDS Care 2021 Feb 1-7
Anal Cancer and Anal Cancer Screening Knowledge, Attitudes, and Perceived Risk Among Women Living With HIV.
Rodriguez SA, Higashi RT, Betts AC, Ortiz C, Tiro JA, Luque AE, Barnes A, J Low Genit Tract Dis 2021 Jan 25 1 43-47
Adaptation of Group-Based Suicide Intervention for Latinx Youth in a Community Mental Health Center
Kennard B, A Moorehead, S Stewart, A El-Behadli, H Mbroh, K Goga, R Wildman, M Michaels, RT Higashi J Child Family Stud 2020 29 4 2058-2069
The art of observation: a qualitative analysis of medical students' experiences.
He B, Prasad S, Higashi RT, Goff HW, BMC Med Educ 2019 Jun 19 1 234
Patient and provider perspectives on delivery of oral cancer therapies.
Murphy CC, Lee SJC, Gerber DE, Cox JV, Fullington HM, Higashi RT, Patient Educ Couns 2019 Jun


Featured Books Legend Featured Books