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Population Science, Cancer Control and Population Health Research Focus

Summer 2023

Project Background

African Americans (AA) continue to have the highest overall death rate and shortest survival for most cancers when compared to all racial/ethnic groups.  This is despite a decline in cancer mortality throughout the U.S. Black immigrant (BI) populations also show high proportional cancer incidence rates when compared to AA. In the state of Utah, the numbers for these groups are small but growing and disparities exist  and reflect national cancer disparities.  Genetic susceptibility testing tools (GST), are used to identify individuals at high risk for cancer, manage disease risk, and ultimately, to reduce morbidity and mortality. However, AA and BI populations are less likely to access these tools due to limited awareness and knowledge about GST.

We will convene with community members to inform the development of innovative GST risk communication strategies through community engagement studios in the SLC area.

This project is funded by the Research Experiences to Advance the Careers of HBCU Undergraduates at the University of Utah (REACH U2) program, which is co-directed by Dr. Kola Okuyemi of University of Utah and Dr. Ray Samuel of North Carolina A&T. Applicants must be North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University students.

Student Role

If selected, the student will be responsible for assisting the Principal Investigator and research team with preparing for Community Advisory Board meetings, attending a training on Community-Based Participatory Research and Qualitative methodology. The student will also be responsible for assisting the Principal Investigator and team with specific aspects of cancer related Community-Based Participatory Research that includes preparing for and attending Research meetings and at least one Community Advisory Board during his/her summer program, writing a literature review, conducting necessary literature searches, and recruiting participants for the community engagement studios.  This individual also must be up-to-date on human subjects training.

Student Learning Outcomes and Benefits

The student who will participate in this research program will have (1) Received introduction or continued education in community-based participatory research that involves Cancer-related research that involves African American and Black immigrant populations in the Greater Salt Lake City area; (2) Gained a greater understanding of population science, communication science research and research design; (3) Introduction or continued education in qualitative and quantitative theory and methodology for population-science research.

Crystal Lumpkins

Associate Professor

In addition to the summer research program support, the student will receive feedback on individually assigned projects that will include but not limited to one-on-one meetings with the Principal Investigator. These meetings would occur every 2 weeks and are in addition to research team meetings. The PI would also invite the student to at least one Cancer Control Population meeting within Huntsman to observe and complete an objectives and goals plan at the beginning of the program to assess goals of the program and the successful completion of the summer research opportunity with the PI (Principal Investigator). It is the goal of the PI to provide an opportunity that is both intellectually stimulating but also a guided experience that includes mentoring from the PI but also other research team members and community members. The student will also walk away with (1) a completed writing research project and (2) experience that contributes to the development of communication risk strategies for African American and Black immigrant populations within the area and a greater understanding of public health communication research overall.