(ADMINISTRATIVE CORE) Low-income rural communities experience significant cancer health disparities, including lower screening rates, increased incidence, later stage at detection, poorer survival, and higher mortality. The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIUSM) and its Simmons Cancer Institute serve the central, southern, and Delta regions of Illinois. These rural communities have elevated poverty rates, are medically under-served, and have disparately high cancer incidence and mortality. SIUSM and the NCI-designated Siteman Cancer Center (SCC) at Washington University in Saint Louis (WUSTL) established this Partnership to promote cancer research at SIUSM and reduce these disparities. Our overall aims in this P20 application are to build cancer research capacity at SIUSM, support SIUSM faculty in transitioning to NIH-funded cancer disparities research, and expand SCC's rural cancer research reach and activity.
We aim to foster the development of trainees and junior faculty at both institutions to help them develop rural cancer disparity research and will provide opportunities for all investigators to engage in cross-institutional research and mentoring. Our Administrative Core provides the leadership and management to help us achieve these goals and grow our Partnership. This Core is led by the two Principal Investigators, supported by an Executive Committee representing Program Leaders and stakeholders from each partner site. An Internal Advisory Committee representing leadership from SIUSM, WUSTL, and the comprehensive cancer center (SCC) will provide oversight, evaluation, and direction. We added a Community Advisory Committee to assist us in setting priorities and developing community engagement strategies. The Administrative Core Aims are: 1) Promote and implement a pilot research program that provides investigators with research funding, experience, and preliminary data for future NIH RO1/R21 grants. This program, initiated in 2013, has already linked our faculty, and is helping SIUSM investigators build their research programs and allowing SCC investigators to expand their rural cancer disparities research. We funded one pilot internally last year; another is included with this application. 2) SCC will provide SIUSM faculty access to learning activities, such as sharing seminars through video/web uplink. Together we will develop a short-term investigator exchange program and a rural health seminar series as part of the Training Program. 3) Building on existing activities, we will share strategies for faculty early career development. In particular, WUSTL's Division of Public Health Sciences offers a 10-month master's degree in Population Health Science, in which we will enroll SIUSM faculty. SIUSM faculty will be included in SCC's comprehensive and integrated mentoring activities. 4) We will refine our evaluation framework to measure effectiveness of our Partnership efforts. The Core will also work to ensure sustainability of the Partnership and activities through planning and submitting future grant applications. In whole, we believe these activities will create a sustainable and effective cancer disparities research program at SIUSM and enhance that at SCC.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1)
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Washington University
Saint Louis
United States
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Pathak, Swati; George, Nerissa; Monti, Denise et al. (2018) Evaluating Adaptation of a Cancer Clinical Trial Decision Aid for Rural Cancer Patients: A Mixed-Methods Approach. J Cancer Educ :
Zahnd, Whitney E; Jenkins, Wiley D; James, Aimee S et al. (2018) Utility and Generalizability of Multistate, Population-Based Cancer Registry Data for Rural Cancer Surveillance Research in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 27:1252-1260
Zahnd, Whitney E; James, Aimee S; Jenkins, Wiley D et al. (2018) Rural-Urban Differences in Cancer Incidence and Trends in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 27:1265-1274