California State University, Fullerton

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CSUF News Service

Increasing Cancer Awareness and Research

Oct. 8, 2014

Cal State Fullerton was recently awarded more than $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health-National Cancer Institute to bolster various aspects of cancer awareness, research and training.

Sora Tanjasiri, chair and professor of health science, leads the campus effort, which is directed toward promoting scholarship and creative activities to improve the cancer-related health and well-being of ethnic minority and other medically underserved populations in the region.

The lion's share of funding awarded this year — $702,695 — is for "WINCART: Weaving an Islander Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training," begun in 2005. WINCART also received an additional $169,999 to fund "Administrative Supplement for Elective Activities for the Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program," or GMaP, and $64,970 for "Administrative Supplements to Expand NCI-Supported Community Outreach Capacity through Community Health Educators of the National Outreach Network," both of which will allow the WINCART Center to expand its biospecimen education and collection efforts in Southern California's Pacific Islander communities.

To support WINCART's cancer research and education efforts, the center has developed a number of culturally tailored and language-specific interventions, programs and education materials, including videos, booklets, flyers and posters — all directed toward five of the region's Pacific Islander populations: Chamorros, Marshallese, native Hawaiians, Samoans and Tongans.

The NIH-NCI also awarded $482,199 for "A Pap Test Intervention to Enhance Decision Making Among Pacific Islander Women." The five-year program is geared to guide Pacific Islander women to undergo gynecological screenings that detect cervical cancer, infections and abnormalities.

"Pacific Islanders experience high rates of cervical cancer mortality and low rates of Pap tests," Tanjasiri said, adding that a women with a social support network of people encouraging screenings are more likely to get them. This program is the first such effort that involves men's support in the decision-making process to obtain a Pap test for their significant other. Now in its fifth year, the program is finalizing its results for disseminating.

The balance of the recent funding will go toward the "CSUF and UC Irvine's Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center Partnership for Cancer Health Disparities Research," which funds pilot projects aimed at reducing health disparities among ethnic minorities.

Tags:  Academics & ResearchCampus Updates