Nancy Burke, PhD

What I Do

English as Second Language Oral Health Curriculum R21


Dr. Nancy J. Burke (PHD, PhD) is an Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine and the Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center. A health disparities researcher with a particular interest in organizational culture and health literacy, she is currently Principal Investigator of a National Cancer Institute K07 Career Development Award that addresses organizational and interpersonal aspects of information disparities in cancer clinical trial recruitment (“Communicating about Clinical Trials: Bringing the CIS to the Underserved). 

As part of this research, Dr. Burke conducted an ethnography of clinical trials recruitment in two public hospital clinics, evaluated the standard Cancer Information Service (CIS) protocol for clinical trials information provision, and worked with the CIS to revise their protocol for low literacy and limited English proficient patients. A pilot test of the revised protocol resulted in high levels of satisfaction with the CIS and increased information-seeking efficacy among patients. Dr. Burke’s work in oral health disparities focuses on understanding and delimiting the domains of Oral Health Literacy (OHL) among Mexican immigrant parents and families. She is currently Principal Investigator of a pilot study entitled "Oral Health Literacy for English as a Second Language (ESL) Learners."