The research strategy and training plan included in this F99/K00 proposal will enhance the career development and research independence of Caitlin G. Allen, MPH. This research plan aims to advance knowledge of how to expand the reach and uptake of existing evidence-based genetics tools such as family cancer history (FCH) among underserved minority populations. FCH collection is a simple, proven way to identify individual's genetic risk for developing cancer that can encourage tailored cancer prevention and risk-stratified screening. Despite national efforts, FCH collection remains suboptimal with especially noteworthy disparities in collection among African American (AA) families. Ms. Allen's F99 research and training will focus on developing her skills in social network analysis to study individual and family network factors that contribute to poor knowledge of FCH. Ms. Allen has already completed two complementary dissertation studies that directly inform the proposed F99 research: 1) a systematic review of family health collection tools, and 2) development of a valid and reliable scale used to identify family network members that are highly likely to share FCH information. She will complete her dissertation research in the F99 phase of this award, which will involve: 1) 50 AA participants completing their FCH using a FCH collection tool (ItRunsInMyFamily), and 2) characterizing individual- and network-level factors that influence FCH collection by conducting personal network interviews using the Colored Eco-Genetic Relationship Map technique. To accomplish these aims, her F99 training objectives are to: 1) hone professional skills in grantsmanship, academic writing, and research dissemination, 2) develop scientific independence by strengthening methodological and analytic skills in social network analysis and relevant research methods, and 3) identify a postdoctoral site and K00 mentor. Ms. Allen's F99 training plan is bolstered by strong support from an excellent mentorship team at the Rollins School of Public Health and the research infrastructure at Emory University, creating an optimal training environment. Ms. Allen's postdoctoral research (K00 phase) will expand upon F99 work by enhancing a FCH collection tool (ItRunsInMyFamily) through human centered design approaches and implementing this tool in community-based clinical settings. Her training goals aligned with this phase of research includes: 1) building knowledge in human centered design and health technology assessment, 2) becoming an expert in implementation science, and 3) enhancing professional and research skills to prepare for an academic research position. Collectively, the integrated research plan and training goals are critical to establishing a successful, innovative, and meaningful academic career focused on extending cancer-specific genetics discoveries to marginalized and underrepresented populations by supporting evidence-based solutions such as FCH to improve cancer prevention and early-detection.

Public Health Relevance

My career goal is to become a cancer researcher leading a program focused on the translation of evidence- based genetics applications such as family cancer history (FCH) collection to improve risk-stratified cancer prevention and early-detection in low-resource settings. In the F99 phase, I will complete my dissertation research focused on identifying factors influencing collection of FCH, while gaining skills in social network data analysis. During the K00 phase, I will extend this research and training by: 1) building knowledge of human centered design to incorporate F99 findings about determinants of FCH collection into an updated FCH tool, 2) becoming an expert in implementation science through the deployment and evaluation of a FCH intervention in community health settings, and 3) enhancing skills to prepare for an academic research position.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1)
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Eljanne, Mariam
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Emory University
Schools of Public Health
United States
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