$700K NIH Grant for CBCS

TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 22, 2009) – Cancer pain management in older African American and White patients is the focus of a five-year University of South Florida study that has just received $705,143 in funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute. With this grant, Tamara Baker, an assistant professor in the School of Aging Studies at the USF’s College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, and her colleagues are examining disparities between the two groups of older adults.  They will evaluate the feasibility of an education-based cancer pain management intervention, while examining the influence social, cultural, and psychological factors have in the perception and experience of cancer pain among these patients.  The patients will be drawn from Moffitt Cancer Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando.


"To date, we have identified only a few studies that have systematically examined identified psychosocial constructs that influence the experience of cancer-related pain in older adults,” said Baker. "Meanwhile we’ll be implementing an education-based cancer pain management intervention among these elderly cancer patients. The use of elderly adults, in this study, will provide new information on the role these psychosocial factors have on influencing the management of cancer pain symptoms.


“This project is proven to work in that it is a simple and direct method of disseminating important information to older adults, particularly in older minority patients (i.e., Blacks), who are often misinformed and disenfranchised.  More importantly, it will prove beneficial in serving as an initial step in addressing and possibly eliminating identified barriers to effective cancer pain management among the elderly and other marginalized populations."


The NIH/NCI Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Diversity is given to projects that support the awardee’s transition to independent researcher. According to NIH, the grant was designed “to support and enhance the likelihood of success for underrepresented minority investigators who have committed to basic, clinical, and prevention and population-based research careers in cancer.”  Baker is using the funding to serve both her career and the public interest.


“This career development funding mechanism will allow me to develop a knowledge-base in geriatric oncology as well as gain a better understanding the dynamics of health disparities in relation to cancer and pain, and why they continue to be of growing concern locally, nationally, and internationally,” she said.


Primary mentors on the project are: William Haley (USF School of Aging Studies); Susan McMillan (USF College of Nursing); Lodovico Balducci, MD (Moffitt Cancer Center); Brent Small (USF School of Aging Studies), and Karen O. Anderson (MD Anderson Cancer Center Texas).


The University of South Florida System is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The system offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. It has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.