Only one in four adults aged 50-64 have received the core set of preventive services (i.e., mammography, colonoscopy, influenza vaccination). As the baby boomer generation continues to get older, there will be a need for greater understanding regarding how people ?age in place? and for interventions to support healthy aging in place, especially among the most vulnerable members of our society. Leveraging the positive benefits of social capital and social networks in these groups may be useful in the promotion of cancer screening interventions, but little research has examined and tested this hypothesis. Thus, the specific aims are to: (1) identify barriers and facilitators to social capital for cancer screening in public housing from the perspective of public housing resident leaders; (2) describe the social networks of low-income public housing residents minorities aged 50-75 years old for cancer prevention behaviors; and (3) develop and pilot test a peer-led intervention to promote cancer prevention behaviors among public housing residents to determine feasibility and sample size estimates for a future randomized clinical trial (RCT). The proposed research is directly relevant to the candidate's career goals and objectives and will be used to build a program of research to develop interventions to reduce cancer disparities in minorities while strengthening the candidate's training in four new areas. The candidate's immediate career goals are to obtain further specialized training in: (1) social network analysis, (2) multi-level modeling, (3) health policy and (4) intervention development and randomized clinical trial design so that she may successfully execute proposed study goals. Given the institution's high- quality research environment and resources, and with the guidance of the experienced mentoring team, Dr. Sly will have the support and resources necessary to successfully pursue the proposed research and training aims. Over the course of the five-year funding period, she will participate in ongoing one-on-one weekly and twice monthly meetings with each of her mentors, complete formal coursework/workshops and interactive training activities offered at her institution including grand rounds, work-in-progress research meetings, and journal clubs, submit a minimum of ten first author manuscripts for publication in high impact, peer-reviewed journals and attend nationally recognized research conferences to foster national networks with researchers in the field of cancer prevention and control. This multimodal training plan will provide the comprehensive skills needed to achieve her research aims and professional goal of becoming an independent scholar. The results of the proposed study will be used to test a future RCT of the developed intervention aimed at increasing cancer prevention behaviors in minorities. The long term goal of the proposed research will be to disseminate the intervention, in partnership with community organizations and government agencies (i.e., department of health, New York City Housing Authority) among older adult minorities in low-income, community-based settings, thereby reducing cancer mortality in this underserved population.

Public Health Relevance

This project will be the first step in understanding and exploring the social networks of public housing residents aged 50-75 years old as they relate to cancer prevention behaviors. The creation of a targeted, peer-led intervention to promote cancer prevention behaviors among low-income, public housing residents will aid in the reduction of cancer mortality disparities. The proposed research is directly in line with NIH's mission to protect and improve health for medically underserved minority populations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Subcommittee I - Transistion to Independence (NCI)
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Schwartz, Elena Ivan
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Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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