(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — The Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health and College of Medicine received $3,235,597 in July’s grant awards by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).

David McClellan, M.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine in the TAMHSC-College of Medicine, and Jane Bolin, Ph.D., J.D., RN, associate professor of health policy and management in the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health, were awarded $2,748,008 as co-principal investigators for the project, “Enhanced Colorectal Cancer Screening in a Family Medicine Residency Program Serving Low-Income and Underserved: Translating Research Into Practice.”

Julie St. John, M.A., M.P.H., CHWI, South Texas regional director at the Center for Community Health Development in the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health in San Benito, and Christopher Beaudoin, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University, received $487,589 as co-principal investigators for “ÉPICO: Education to Promote Improved Cancer Outcomes.”

Head shot of COM Dr. McClellan

Dr. David McClellan

The three-year evidence-based colon cancer prevention grant to Drs. McClellan and Bolin will be used to screen and educate low-income patients at risk for colon cancer while training family medicine residents in colorectal cancer screening procedures. Its goals are to increase the number of low-income rural and underserved patients receiving colon cancer screenings in the Brazos Valley, as well as the number of family medicine physicians trained to conduct colonoscopy screenings; increase the capacity of the TAMHSC-College of Medicine Family Medicine Residency Program to provide colonoscopies; and provide promotores (bilingual community health workers) as patient navigators.

The colorectal cancer screening project will harness several unique partnerships throughout the Brazos Valley and Texas by utilizing the significant strengths of the health science center’s Family Medicine Residency Program, School of Rural Public Health and Rural and Community Health Institute; Brazos Valley Community Action Agency; Health for All; Brazos Valley Health Partnership; Texas Life Science Foundation; Día de la Mujer LatinaTM Inc.; and the Clinical Trials Network of Texas. In doing so, it will serve as a national model for translating colon cancer prevention, screening and education services into family medicine residency training while supporting patients through the complex health care system.

Head shot of SRPH Dr. Bolin

Dr. Jane Bolin

Assisting in the project from the TAMHSC-College of Medicine are John Simmons, M.D., Robert Pope, M.D., Ryan Loyd, M.D., and Christine Pinones, RN. Marcia Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., Regents Professor of social and behavioral health in the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health, is co-investigator and director of evaluation, and Janet Helduser, M.A., is program manager.

Meanwhile, the ÉPICO grant by St. John and Dr. Beaudoin will train and utilize promotores to deliver tailored education that improves access to comprehensive cancer services and the survivorship of colorectal, breast and cervical cancers for Hispanics of the Lower Rio Grande Valley (Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties).

Nine training modules will provide certified continuing education units, with an estimated 80 participants at each training. Through their daily outreach, these trained promotores will reach approximately 5,000 residents.

Head shot of Jill St. John

Julie St. John

ÉPICO is an innovative project that integrates cancer expertise and community knowledge to develop culturally appropriate education materials. It also trains promotores in tailoring techniques to adapt their education to characteristics of residents they serve and builds an infrastructure that makes the trainings publicly available to ensure replication and sustainability.

CPRIT provided more than $72 million overall in its latest round of funding for cancer prevention programs and services and to attract top-notch cancer researchers to the state. Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2007 establishing CPRIT and authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas.

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