UK researchers awarded CDC grants for cancer research in Appalachia

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2014) – Two University of Kentucky researchers have been awarded $1.62 million in grants through special interest projects from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

cancer patientThe grants fund cancer research projects that focus on methods for improving the dire statistics in Appalachian Kentucky, which has some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the country.

Robin Vanderpool, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior in the UK College of Public Health, was awarded a 5-year, $1.37 million grant to fund the Appalachian Center for Cancer Education, Screening, and Support (ACCESS), a collaboration between the University of Kentucky’s Rural Cancer Prevention Center (RCPC) and the national Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN).

CPCRN is supported by both CDC and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). ACCESS will work to accelerate the adoption of evidence-based cancer prevention and control programs in Appalachian Kentucky communities and reduce the cancer burden in these underserved populations. The goal of the project is to use existing primary care resources in efficient and effective ways to promote guideline-recommended cancer screenings and improve overall health in the region.

Specifically, ACCESS will conduct a regional research project with White House Clinics, a federally qualified health center that serves a medically underserved and high-poverty region in Appalachian Kentucky. The project will design, implement, and evaluate a proactive officer encounter (POE) intervention effort in eight community health centers, which will provide a systematic approach to offering breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer screening services at every office encounter for eligible patients.

Bin Huang, an assistant professor in the Division of Cancer Biostatistics in the Department of Biostatistics, UK College of Public Health, was awarded a 2-year, $250,000 grant to improve Kentucky Cancer Registry (KCR) data through ancillary data linkage. The main goal of Huang’s project is to establish groundwork and examine the feasibility for the development of a sustainable Kentucky Cancer Quality and Outcome Research Data System, with the goal of improving the quality of care for Kentuckians with cancer.

The project seeks to generate enhanced KCR data, specifically in Appalachian Kentucky, by linking with external sources such as Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers; populating treatment summaries for breast and colorectal cancers; and conducting patterns of care research in cancer survival disparities for these types of cancers in Appalachian and non-Appalachian populations.

These projects are a great example of the interdisciplinary work of investigators in the College of Public Health and Markey Cancer Center that spans the cancer prevention and control continuum, from screening interventions to surveillance, to remedy the cancer disparities faced by residents of Appalachian Kentucky,” said Margaret McGladrey, assistant dean for research in the UK College of Public Health.

Federal funds from the CDC and NCI financed 100 percent of the costs for these special interest projects; no non-governmental sources contributed to the funding.

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