Deanna Lee Kepka, PhD, MPH portrait
  • Investigator, Huntsman Cancer Institute
  • Director of Global and International Health, College Of Nursing
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Population Health Sciences
  • Associate Professor, College Of Nursing

Research Summary

Dr. Kepka is dedicated to improving the quality of primary health care services for cancer prevention and control among underserved populations locally and globally. She is the founder and director of the Intermountain West HPV Vaccination Coalition. She is a health services researcher with expertise hpv vaccination, hpv-related cancer prevention, and health equity research.


  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and Philosophy, Northwestern University
  • , Post-Doctoral Fellowship Cancer Prevention Fellowship Training Program, National Cancer Institute


Deanna Kepka, PhD, MPH, is a Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) investigator and an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Utah. She is a member of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences (CCPS) research group

Kepka’s main research interests are the gaps in health care access and quality for vulnerable populations. She focuses specifically on preventing cervical cancer among US Latinas, who have higher rates of cervical cancer than most other racial and ethnic groups. Utah has one of the lowest rates of completion of the HPV vaccination series in the country, and Kepka’s work with CCPS and the College of Nursing intends to develop more effective patient-provider interventions that will help increase this rate. She is also dedicated to improving health care services for cancer prevention and control among minority and underserved populations.

Kepka has worked with teams in at-risk communities, promoting positive health behaviors in Jamaica, Chicago, North Carolina, and Washington. Since 2007, she has worked with Hispanic and Latino communities in Mexico, Peru, Chicago, North Carolina, and Washington. She has also developed a radionovela (a Spanish short story broadcast) that successfully improved knowledge and sparked interest in the HPV vaccine among rural Latino parents in the United States.

Kepka was most recently a posdoctoral fellow in the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, where she received the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Merit Award. She received her PhD in health services from the University of Washington School of Public Health and her MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.