Dr. Sierra received her M.S.P.H. and Ph.D. degrees in epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta, Canada, she received the Outstanding Contributions in Collaborative Research Award for her focus on community-based studies of H. pylori infection with the Canadian North Helicobacter pylori (CANHelp) Working Group. Dr. Sierra was awarded the Marie-Curie COFUND Actions postdoctoral fellowship from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France and received an IARC Outstanding Contribution Award. At the Section of Cancer Surveillance, IARC, she evaluated cancer patterns and trends in Central and South America. Prior to joining DCEG, Dr. Sierra worked at the Task Force for Global Health, Inc., contributing to the development of the cancer epidemiology curriculum for the Field Epidemiology Training Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Sierra has broad expertise in global health, cancer surveillance systems in low- and middle-income countries, and cancer control and prevention. Prophylactic vaccines for the human papillomavirus (HPV) are being introduced in many countries for the prevention of cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer-related death in women worldwide. These vaccines have the potential to significantly impact the future burden of cervical cancer, particularly in underserved and vulnerable populations where screening is non-existent or limited in scale. Alongside Dr. Aimée R. Kreimer, senior investigator, Dr. Sierra works on the HPV vaccine trials in Costa Rica that aim to evaluate reduced-dose HPV vaccination schedules. Evidence generated from these trials could inform global policy discussions on the potential for single-dose HPV vaccination, which could make HPV vaccine uptake more feasible and achievable.