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Monday, October 2, 2023

Academics & Research

Prof awarded part of cancer grant

A researcher from the College of Education received a portion of a $6.8 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas earlier this month.

Eleven other programs in Texas also received a portion of the money.

Associate professor Jenny Yi was awarded a grant of $272,753 for her proposed project on cervical cancer.

“This is the first step in UH’s concerted efforts to play a role in preventing and treating cancer,” Assistant Vice President of the University Health Initiatives Kathryn Peek said.

The two categories of awards are prevention and research. Yi was awarded a prevention grant that will be used to conduct her project, “Framing Effective Cervical Cancer Messages for Vietnamese American Women.”

Yi said the purpose of the study is to develop, implement and assess the effectiveness of a culturally tailored cervical cancer educational program for Vietnamese American women with limited English proficiency and to educate them on how to prevent the disease.

The project addresses the unique needs and concerns of these hard-to-reach and vulnerable women who otherwise cannot be assessed through conventional means.

Yi said the HPV vaccine is fairly new and not much is known about its acceptability among Vietnamese American women.

“I’d like to know what they think about it and also their knowledge and attitudes about the vaccine in order to know the best way to educate these women in a cordially sensitive way, and teach them the pros and cons of the vaccine so they can make the right decision for themselves,” Yi said.

Peek, who is also an associate professor at the University of Texas, said that CPRIT was created in the fall of 2007 when Texas voters passed a proposition — then known as Prop 15 — and made available $300 million a year devoted to funding cancer-prevention research in Texas. This financial backing is to continue for the next 10 years, totaling a $3 billion investment.

Peek said this is the first award a UH investigator has received. She also said she is certain that the University will be receiving other CPRIT awards in the near future.

According to CPRIT, applicants must be a Texas-based entity and their research must be cancer-related to become eligible for funding. Proposals are evaluated based on significance, feasibility, importance and the investigator’s qualifications.

According to the National Cancer Institute, a pap test is the best way a woman can protect herself from cervical cancer, and they should be administered once every three years beginning at age 21. The cervical cancer vaccine protects women from getting infected with the HPV types that cause 70 percent of cancer.

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