kimberly a kaphingst portrait
  • Professor, Communication

Research Statement

Dr. Kimberly Kaphingst is a health communication researcher. Her research interests are in health literacy, cancer communication, family history, and the communication of genetic and genomic information. She led a series of intramural studies at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) that examined predictors of individuals' understanding of and responses to genetic information across various disease outcomes. She was a Co-Investigator on the study team for the intramural Multiplex Initiative at NHGRI, a study designed to examine uptake of multiplex genetic susceptibility testing among a population-based sample of healthy adults ages 25-40. Dr. Kaphingst led the working group that developed the Multiplex genetic susceptibility test results feedback strategy and examined participants' use of the study website and how this affected their decision making for uptake of the Multiplex test. She also led an analysis of participants' recall and comprehension, affective responses, and information seeking and health behaviors following receipt of the test results feedback. Dr. Kaphingst was the Principal Investigator on a recently completed study (R01 CA168608) to examine preferences for return of genome sequencing results among young breast cancer patients. She also co-led a supplemental project to the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities grant (3U54CA153460) at Washington University, which examined preferences for models of consent for secondary research uses of biospecimens among a diverse sample of women. She previously led a qualitative investigation of African American women's reactions to and use of two family history tools. In her current work, Dr. Kaphingst is investigating understanding of shared familial risk and family communication among Caucasian, Latino, and Pacific Islander families.

Research Keywords

  • Public Health Issues Related to Genetics
  • Health literacy
  • Communication in Families
  • Cancer Communication


  • Communication of genetic information to cancer patients. Grand Rounds, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Boise, ID, May 12, 2017. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/12/2017.
  • Wu YP, Aspinwall LG, Nagelhout E, Kohlmann W, Kaphingst K, Grossman D, Cassidy P, Leachman S. Interdisciplinary research collaboration to communicate genetic risk and melanoma preventive behaviors to high-risk children. Society of Pediatric Psychology, Atlanta, GA, April 2016. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 04/2016.
  • Communication issues in recruitment of individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups to a precision medicine cohort. Frontiers in Precision Medicine – Exploring Science and Policy Boundaries, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, December 4, 2015. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 12/04/2015.
  • Kaphingst KA, Ivanovich J, Lyons S, Biesecker BB, Goodman MS. What factors affect interest in receiving genome sequencing results among young breast cancer patients? International Conference on Communication in Healthcare, New Orleans, LA, October 28, 2015. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 10/28/2015.
  • Kepka D, Ding Q, Pappas L, Boucher K, Akerley W, Fowler B, Wu Y, Kaphingst K, Kirchhoff A. High radon and higher incidence of lung cancer in nonmetropolitan areas. Abstract presentation at the Huntsman Cancer Institute conference, Translating Cancer Epidemiology: From cells to clinic to population, Salt Lake City, UT, October 25, 2015. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 10/25/2015.
  • What do patients really want to know? Communicating genetics, sequencing and beyond. Translating Cancer Epidemiology: From Cells to Clinic and Population. Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, October 25, 2015. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/25/2015.
  • Family communication of genetic test results. Utah Cancer Genomics Project, Utah Department of Health and Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, June 20, 2015. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 06/20/2015.


  • Hay JL & Zielaskowski K, White KM, Kaphingst K, Robers E, Guest D, Sussman A, Talamantes Y, Schwartz M, Greb J, Rodriguez VM, Li Y, Schofield E, Bigney J, Hunley K, Buller D, Berwick M (2018). Interest and uptake of MCIR testing for melanoma risk in diverse primary care. JAMA Dermatology. Accepted, 02/2018.
  • Hay JL, & Sussman A, Talamantes Y, Schwartz MR, Greb J, Bigney J, Kaphingst KA, Hunley K, Buller DB (2017). Implementing an Internet-delivered skin cancer genetic testing intervention to improve sun protection behavior in a diverse population . JMIR Research Protocols. Vol. 6(4), e52. Published, 08/2017.
  • Elrick A, Ashida S, Ivanovich J, Lyons S, Biesecker BB, Goodman MS & Kaphingst KA (2017). Psychosocial and Clinical Factors Associated with Family Communication of Cancer Genetic Test Results among Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer at a Young Age. Journal of genetic counseling. Vol. 26, 173-181. Published, 02/2017.
  • Chen L-S, Kaphingst KA, Tseng T-S, Zhao S. How are lung cancer risk perceptions and cigarette smoking related? Testing an accuracy hypothesis. Translational Cancer Research 2016; 5(Suppl 5):S964-S971. Published, 11/2016.
  • Allen CG, McBride CM, Balcazar HG & Kaphingst KA (2016). Community Health Workers: An Untapped Resource to Promote Genomic Literacy. Journal of health communication. Vol. 21, 25-29. Published, 09/01/2016.
  • Drake B, Brown K, McGowan LD, Haslag-Minoff J, Kaphingst KA. Secondary consent to biospecimen use in a prostate cancer biorepository. BMC Research Notes 2016; 9:346. Published, 09/2016.
  • Politi MC, Kuzemchak MD, Kaphingst KA, Perkins H, Liu J & Byrne MM (2016). Decision Aids Can Support Cancer Clinical Trials Decisions: Results of a Randomized Trial. The oncologist. Vol. 21, 1461-1470. Published, 08/01/2016.
  • McQueen A, Waters EA, Kaphingst KA, Caburnay CA, Sanders Thompson VL, Boyum S & Kreuter MW (2016). Examining Interpretations of Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels Among U.S. Youth and Adults. Journal of health communication. Vol. 21, 855-67. Published, 07/01/2016.
  • Kaphingst KA, Blanchard M, Milam L, Pokharel M, Elrick A & Goodman MS (2016). Relationships Between Health Literacy and Genomics-Related Knowledge, Self-Efficacy, Perceived Importance, and Communication in a Medically Underserved Population. Journal of health communication. Vol. 21 Suppl 1, 58-68. Published, 04/01/2016.
  • Kaphingst KA, Ivanovich J, Biesecker BB, Dresser R, Seo J, Dressler LG, Goodfellow PJ & Goodman MS (2016). Preferences for return of incidental findings from genome sequencing among women diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age. Clinical genetics. Vol. 89, 378-84. Published, 02/01/2016.
  • Furtado KS, Kaphingst KA, Perkins H & Politi MC (2016). Health Insurance Information-Seeking Behaviors Among the Uninsured. Journal of health communication. Vol. 21, 148-58. Published, 02/01/2016.
  • Hudson D, Blanchard M, Kaphingst KA, Goodman M. Estimates of mental health problems in a vulnerable population within a primary care setting. Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved 2016; 27(1):308-326. Published, 02/2016.
  • Politi MC, Barker AR, Kaphingst KA, McBride T, Shacham E, Kebodeaux CS. Show Me My Health Plans: a study protocol of a randomized trial testing a decision support tool for the federal health insurance marketplace in Missouri. BMC Health Services Research 2016; 16:55. Published, 02/2016.
  • Brown KM, Drake BF, Gehlert S, Wolf LE, DuBois J, Seo J, Woodward K, Perkins H, Goodman MS & Kaphingst KA (2016). Differences in preferences for models of consent for biobanks between Black and White women. Journal of community genetics. Vol. 7, 41-9. Published, 01/01/2016.
  • Cortez S, Milbrandt M, Kaphingst K, James A & Colditz G (2016). The readability of online breast cancer risk assessment tools. Breast cancer research and treatment. Vol. 154, 191-9. Published, 01/01/2016.
  • McQueen A, Kreuter MW, Boyum S, Thompson VS, Caburnay C, Waters EA, Kaphingst KA, Rath S, Fu Q. Reactions to FDA-proposed graphic warning labels affixed to US smokers' cigarette packs. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2015; 17(7):784-795. Published, 12/2015.
  • Griffey RT, Carpenter CR, Gross M, Kinsella Y, Goodman MS, McGowan LD, Kaphingst KA. Impact of teach-back on comprehension of discharge instructions and satisfaction among emergency department patients with limited health literacy: a randomized, controlled study. Journal of Communication in Healthcare 2015; 8(1):10-21. Published, 12/2015.
  • Goodman MS, Griffey RT, Carpenter CR, Blanchard M & Kaphingst KA (2015). Do Subjective Measures Improve the Ability to Identify Limited Health Literacy in a Clinical Setting?. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM. Vol. 28, 584-94. Published, 09/01/2015.
  • Hidalgo B, Kaphingst KA, Stafford J, Lachance C & Goodman MS (2015). Diagnostic accuracy of self-reported racial composition of residential neighborhood. Annals of epidemiology. Vol. 25, 597-604. Published, 06/01/2015.
  • Thompson T, Seo J, Griffith J, Baxter M, James A, Kaphingst KA. The context of collecting family health history: Examining definitions of family and family communication about health among African American women. Journal of Health Communication 2015; 20(4):416-423. Published, 05/2015.
  • Kaphingst KA, Stafford JD, McGowan LD, Seo J, Lachance CR, Goodman MS. Effects of racial and ethnic group and health literacy on responses to genomic risk information in a medically underserved population. Health Psychology 2015; 34(2):101-110. Published, 02/2015.
  • Griffey RT, Kennedy SK, D'Agostino McGowan L, Goodman MS, Kaphingst KA. Is low health literacy associated with increased emergency department utilization and recidivism? Academic Emergency Medicine 2014; 21(10):1109-1115. Published, 10/2014.
  • Kaphingst KA, Weaver NL, Wray RJ, Brown ML, Buskirk T, Kreuter MW. Effects of patient health literacy, patient engagement and a system-level health literacy attribute on patient-reported outcomes: a representative statewide survey. BMC Health Services Research 2014; 14:475. Published, 09/2014.
  • Kaphingst KA, Goodman MS, MacMillan WD, Carpenter CR, Griffey RT. Effect of cognitive dysfunction on the relationship between age and health literacy. Patient Education and Counseling 2014; 95:218-225. Published, 05/2014.
  • Griffey RT, Melson AT, Lin MJ, Carpenter CR, Goodman MS, Kaphingst KA. Does numeracy correlate with measures of health literacy in the emergency department? Academic Emergency Medicine 2014; 21:147-153. Published, 02/2014.
  • Carpenter CR, Kaphingst KA, Goodman M, Lin MJ, Melson A, Griffey RT. Feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of brief health literacy and numeracy screening instruments in an urban emergency department. Academic Emergency Medicine 2014; 21:137-146. Published, 02/2014.
  • Politi MC, Kaphingst KA, Kreuter M, Shacham E, Lovell MC, McBride T. Knowledge of health insurance terminology and detail among the uninsured. Medical Care Research and Review 2014; 71(1):85-98. Published, 01/2014.
  • Morgan T, Schmidt J, Haakonsen C, Lewis J, Della Rocca M, Morrison S, Biesecker B, Kaphingst KA. Using the Internet to seek information about genetic and rare diseases: a case study comparing data from 2006 and 2011. JMIR Research Protocols 2014; 3(1):e10. Published, 01/2014.
  • Caburnay CA, Babb P, Kaphingst KA, Roberts J, Rath S. Characteristics of genetics-related news content in Black weekly newspapers. Public Health Genomics 2014; 17(1):7-15. Published, 01/2014.