TAMPA — University of South Florida public health researchers will receive up to $4.35 million in federal funding to study the most effective ways to get people at risk of colorectal cancer tested early for the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded USF's Florida Prevention Research Center $750,000 this year for research that will identify people in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties who aren't getting appropriate preventive care, and look for ways to lower the barriers they face in getting screened.
The grant continues over five years, and will total $4.35 million. Eventually, the center wants to develop outreach campaigns and strategies for getting people screened for the disease, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States.
Part of USF's College of Public Health, the Florida Prevention Research Center has studied subjects as diverse as childhood obesity and eye injuries among citrus workers, said Carol Bryant, a professor who serves as the center's director.
The most effective interventions often are those that consider the reality of people's lives. For instance, researchers learned that citrus workers weren't wearing goggles because they were uncomfortable, and workers thought wearing them would slow their work, thus reducing their income.
So researchers came up with a plan to offer better goggles, and recruit fast workers who wore goggles to serve as role models for others, Bryant explained.
Similarly, she said, researchers will team up with colleagues at Moffitt Cancer Center, the Florida Department of Health and various community organizations to work with people who aren't getting colorectal cancer screenings in order to find out all the possible economic and personal barriers that might be involved.
USF was one of 26 academic institutions in 25 states, and the only recipient in Florida, to obtain the CDC funding, which totals $19.5 million.