Current Research

Co-Creating a Multilevel Intervention to Enhance Equity in Cancer Genetic Services

Pilot project funded by the Washington University Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control

Genetic testing is an increasingly important component of comprehensive cancer care. Reducing racial disparities in cancer genetic services is critical to achieving health equity in precision oncology. The goals of this project are to 1)engage community, clinical, and academic partners to review current cancer genetic services, 2) collaboratively design an intervention prototype and collect key stakeholder feedback, and 3) develop a hybrid effectiveness-implementation study to test the intervention

Community-Centered Enhancement of Cancer Genetic Research and Referral Approaches

Funded by an administrative supplement to the Washington University Participant Engagement and Cancer Genomic Sequencing Center

We will use community-engaged methods to develop culturally appropriate materials and processes for cancer genetics education, risk assessment, and referral to appropriate research studies and clinical genetic counseling services. We will work closely with community health workers and community health educators (CHW/Es) throughout the development and implementation processes. Developing and implementing culturally appropriate education and outreach processes will help fill a critical gap and significantly enhance the overall impact of the WU-PE-CGS

Integration of Genomic & Social Science in Breast Cancer Disparities Research

Funded by the National Institutes of Health / National Cancer Institute (K07 CA212032)

The goal of this project is to assess whether measures of state-level inequalities (defined by race, gender, and/or socioeconomic status) are associated with known breast cancer risk factors and/or genetic markers associated with breast cancer risk. The results of this study will provide insight into social, behavioral, and genetic contributions to observed racial and socioeconomic disparities in breast cancer subtype.

Mixed Methods Analysis of Interdistrict School Transfer Program Participation and Student Health

Funded by the Washington University Institute for Public Health, Public Health Cubed award

Drawing from the education policy, school health, and racism and health literatures, the goals of this interdisciplinary, multi-investigator pilot project are to 1) generate a conceptual model of the mechanisms by which interdistrict school desegregation program participation may influence health among children and adolescents, and 2) develop hypotheses for future research.

Current NIH-funded Collaborations

Washington University Participant Engagement and Cancer Genomic Sequencing Center (WU-PE-CGS)Engagement Optimization Unit

Principal Investigators: Graham Colditz, Ryan Fields, Bettina Drake, and Li Ding

The overall goal of the Engagement Optimization Unit (EOU) of the Washington University Participant Engagement and Cancer Genomic Sequencing Center (WU-PE-CGS) is to conduct ongoing and iterative research to integrate optimal approaches to participant engagement in the recruitment, consent, follow-up and communication of genomic characterization results. 

Returning Research Results that Indicate Risk of Alzheimer Disease to Healthy Participants in Longitudinal Studies

Principal Investigators: Sarah Hartz and Jessica Mozersky

This project will determine the cognitive and psychosocial impact of returning research results to healthy older adults that indicate 5-year risk of developing Alzheimer Disease. Understanding this will enable future Alzheimer research studies to be designed in a way that maintains scientific integrity while also respecting participant wishes to understand their risk of developing Alzheimer Disease. 

Investigating ELSI issues that may facilitate or impede clinical translation of epigenomic research 

Principal Investigator: Erika Waters

The objective is to facilitate the translation process by developing epigenetic communication strategies that are understandable and meaningful to socio-demographically diverse audiences, and that minimize harmful beliefs (e.g., determinism).