In This Section

Grace X. Ma, PhD

Associate Dean for Health Disparities
Chair, Laura H. Carnell Professor, Urban Health and Population Science
Founding Director, Center for Asian Health
Chair, Department of Urban Health and Population Science, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University

Grace Ma
Contact Information

Contact Information



About Me

Research Interests

  • Health disparities research
  • Cancer disparities prevention and control (liver cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer and among others)
  • Population-, community- and health system-engaged intervention trials
  • Chronic disease intervention (Type 2 diabetes and hypertension)
  • Viral-related health disparities research
  • Social, cultural, psychological and structural determinants of health
  • Translational multidisciplinary research


Grace X. Ma, PhD is Associate Dean for Health Disparities, Founding Director of Center for Asian Health, Laura H. Carnell Professor at Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University and Primary Member of Fox Chase Cancer Center of Temple University Health System. Dr. Ma is a nationally recognized behavioral health scientist, leader and pioneer in cancer and health disparities research among underserved and vulnerable racial/ethnic minority populations. In her role as Associate Dean for Health Disparities, Dr. Ma has provided critical and effective leadership in building robust research infrastructure and leading multidisciplinary teams across Temple schools/colleges and multiple institutions in conducting independent and collaborative, highly competitive and innovative cancer health disparities research and education/training a pipeline of diverse investigators in population, translational and clinical sciences.

In 2000, Dr. Ma established Temple University Center for Asian Health (CAH), one of the first in the nation dedicated to reducing cancer and health disparities among underserved Asian Pacific Americans funded by National Cancer Institute, NIH. Dr. Ma in partnership with community leaders co-founded the first Asian Community Cancer Coalition and Cancer Health Disparity Network in the U.S. Eastern Region, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York City, Delaware and DC/Maryland. 

Built on two decades of her leadership, Dr. Ma and her research team established successful partnerships with over 400 community organizations to engage Asian-Pacific American, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino populations in health disparity research and interventions. During her career, Dr. Ma has received continuous awards in research grants from National Institutes of Health (NIH), federal agencies and other funders. She has made seminal contributions in improving health equity and reducing health disparities. Dr. Ma as Principal Investigator has successfully directed 4 cycles of large-scale cancer health disparities research centers/networks funded by NIH over the past 20 years. Her recent U54 center grant created “TUFCCC/HC Regional Comprehensive Cancer Health Disparities Partnership.”  Dr. Ma’s expertise spans a broad range of health disparities disciplines. Her community-based participatory research (CBPR) and patient-centered outcome research (PCOR) have focused on improving early detection, patient navigation, cancer prevention and control (Hepatitis-related liver cancer, cervical, breast, lung and colorectal cancers), smoking cessation, and access/quality of healthcare in underserved and racial/ethnic minorities. Dr. Ma has directed more than 100 intervention or observational longitudinal research studies, including large-scale cluster randomized intervention trials, implementation and dissemination studies at worksites, community health centers, primary care clinics, community-based organizations and churches (NIH-funded R01s, U01s, R24s). Dr. Ma was PI for CDC-funded project, “Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH)”.  She is MPI for “Unpacking Mechanisms of Disparities for HIV-related Hypertension in African American and Asian Pacific American Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM)” (RO1, NIH). Dr. Ma also conducted a number of studies focusing on multilevel risk factors and viral related diseases (e.g. HBV, HCV, HPV and HIV), evidence-based interventions for improving screening, vaccination, disease management, medication adherence, quality of life and continuum of care in underserved Asian Pacific Americans and Black/African American populations.

Dr. Ma mentored over 240 minority junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows, doctoral and master students that created a pipeline of diverse workforce of researchers in health disparities. Dr. Ma authored 5 books, over 190 scientific journal articles, and delivered over 665 professional presentations at regional, national and international conferences, member of 30 scientific journal editorial boards. Dr. Ma has served on more than 40 scientific advisory boards in health disparities research, including NIH national Health Disparity Science Vision Advisory Panel and NIH study sections. Currently, Dr. Ma Co-Chairs Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific Islander (AA NHOPI) Interest Group for NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities.

As a recognized leader, Dr. Ma received numerous distinguished awards from NIH, academic institutions, scientific associations, and community organizations (e.g. 2005 NIH Martin Luther King Award in Reducing Health Disparities, 2019 NIH Designated History Maker in Minority Health & Health Disparities Research, 2019 Yamasaki Prize Medal for Visionary Leadership, College of William & Mary and 2020 Temple University President’s Award for Public Impact Research).

Education, Training & Credentials

Educational Background

  • PhD, Medical Anthropology (Ethnic Community Health), University of Oklahoma
  • MS, Mental Health, University of Oklahoma
  • BA, Xian International Studies University

Honors & Awards

  • Named a Trailblazer in Philly’s Healthcare Revolution – Philadelphia Magazine, May 2020
  • President’s Award for Public Impact Research, Temple University 2020
  • Yamasaki Prize Medal for Visionary Leadership, College of William & Mary, 2019
  • Designated History Maker in Minority Health and Health Disparity Research, NIH National Institute of Minority Health and Disparities, 2019
  • Partnership Award by Nanjing Cancer Survivors Association, China, 2010
  • Outstanding Scientific Publication Award, National Cancer Institute-CRCHD, NIH, 2009 
  • Outstanding Health Leadership Award, Chinese Community Center, Inc. NYC, 2009 
  • Distinguished Asian Health Leader Award, Penn Asian Senior Services, 2008 
  • Martin Luther King Award in Reducing Health Disparities Award, National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2005 
  • Community Healthcare Leadership Award, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 2004           
  • National Cancer Institute’s Atlantic Region Cancer Information Service award, 2001

Digital Bibliography

View PubMed Publications

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