Hawks Hired! Cassandra Faria ’22

Cassandra Faria is currently working towards her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Public Health. Cassandra is a junior at RWU who has had a vested interest in the field of science and health. Cassandra’s studies combine her true passion and interest that guide her academic initiatives each day. While completing her studies, an opportunity posed by a former professor of Cassandra’s was introduced, unlocking an incredible experience to work on the front lines of Rhode Island’s health projects and make an incredible impact on people’s lives.

Cassandra was introduced to The Partnership to Reduce Cancer in RI by her former professor, Dr. Christopher R. Burtner. Cassandra jumped on the opportunity to become involved in assisting cancer patients in the state of RI by co-chairing PRCRI’s Oral Health Task Force. The project aims to provide access to resources and information for individuals with cancer in a streamlined and easy-to-use platform, a task Cassandra was eagerly ready to take on.

Before this project, there had been no aggregate place for cancer patients to explore resources on their road to recovery, specifically in oral health. The research conducted by Cassandra and her team discovered that many dentists’ offices did not specialize or include specific information about signs and symptoms cancer patients may experience before, during, or after treatment. Cassandra states, “The project was aimed to translate knowledge and decrease disparity to promote survivorship and reduce the burden amongst cancer patients.” Cassandra recognized the importance of increasing awareness and resources about oral care to cancer patients and hopes that similar resources like this can be used in other states across the country. This project has driven her passion for engaging with a diverse group of healthcare professionals in the project to improve the health of her local community.

Cassandra is working with many local hospitals and RIDOH’s Oral Health Program to identify gaps in the health care system. While navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rhode Island Department of Health discovered great success with their new Virtual Assistant tool, “Ask Rhoda,” providing the RI population with access to information and resources about COVID-19. Based on these results, Cassandra and her team believe a similar implementation of this system would be beneficial concerning the goal of PRCRI’s Oral Health Task Force.

Cassandra continues her work with The Partnership to Reduce Cancer in RI to develop a web-based resource that will provide more information about oral health to recovering cancer patients. She leans in on her education and the foundation she created at RWU. Cassandra has found great benefit in connecting with fellow alumni Megan Daniel, using her as a resource and support system as she engages in this project. Her double major in Biology and Public Health has provided her a great background in understanding many health protocols being communicated in the new web platform. Cassandra plans to pursue PA school post-graduation by building off of her educational studies at RWU and medical certifications.

Cassandra is a true inspiration to her fellow Hawks as she works and studies to help individuals recovering from cancer, all while completing two majors. Cassandra’s work is an incredible display of the value of experiential learning and utilizing the knowledge obtained to help her community. Cassandra is what RWU strives for all graduates to be, students the world needs now. We are so proud of Cassandra and cannot wait to follow her professional journey.

By Mary Santoro
Mary Santoro Associate Director, Career Services