r WlguqC cW

Study addressing colorectal screening in African American community

Jungyoon Kim, PhD

Jungyoon Kim, PhD

With significant risks of colorectal cancer affecting the African American community, researchers in the UNMC College of Public Health are undertaking a study that will get screening kits out into the community.

The BEAT CANCER project – for Black Equity, Access and Testing for Cancer – will reach out to the community two different ways to distribute fecal immunochemical test kits for colorectal cancer screening.

In October, five recruiters – three UNMC research staff and two community health workers – will staff a booth at the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles North Omaha branch at 4606 N. 56th St. The recruiters will look for participants to provide screening kits for at-home collection, helping them with registration and consent. If the results come back positive, the participants will receive a follow-up consultation.

At the same time, the study will reach out to around 2,000 African Americans in the local community ages 45-75, selected using publicly-available Department of Motor Vehicles data, via letters for study interest. Interested individuals will receive colorectal cancer screening kits, and participants will collect and return stool samples for lab analysis.

The principal investigator on the study is Jungyoon Kim, PhD, assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Health Services Research and Administration within the UNMC College of Public Health. The project coordinator is Grace Mabiala, MD, a PhD graduate assistant in the department. Co-investigators at the UNMC College of Public Health are Daisy Dai, PhD, Keyonna King, DrPH, and Tzeyu Michaud, PhD.

Dr. Kim said colorectal cancer presents a significant burden among underserved populations and minorities in the U.S., and low screening rates, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, contribute to the problem. Dr. Kim said African Americans have a 20% higher chance of getting colorectal cancer and a 40% higher chance of dying from it compared to other racial groups.

According to the researchers, regular screening – including stool-based tests – is key to preventing colorectal cancer.

“Through this study, we hope to learn the best practices of distributing home-testing kits, called FIT kit, for this type of community-based intervention,” Dr. Kim said. “Our goal is to reduce racial disparities and enhance access to colorectal cancer screening, thereby improving cancer-related mortality rates among African Americans.”

The study is being funded by a three-year, $590,000 grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and its Evidence for Action Program. In advance of October’s screening efforts, researchers held two listening sessions in the North Omaha community and formed a community advisory board to help the guide effort.

Dr. Kim said the partnerships that cross different sections of the community are a crucial part of the study. She thanked the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, Douglas County Treasurer’s Office, Great Plains Colon Cancer Task Force, Charles Drew Health Center and community members for making this happen.

After the outreach, the researchers intend to develop an implementation guide and action plans that can be shared with partners and communities, Dr. Kim said.

After collecting data around the different approaches, the researchers will compare the screening outcomes and the cost-effectiveness between on-site and mail distribution, Dr. Kim said.

Ultimately, Dr. Kim said, the study aims to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and mortality among African Americans by implementing the low-cost and evidence-based screening approach using FIT kits.

“These resources will play a pivotal role in promoting better cancer care and prevention measures,” she said.

If anyone has questions, contact Dr. Kim by phone at 402-552-7235 or by email. The study’s IRB# is 115.23.EP.

1 comment

  1. Jane Potter says:

    Important work, JY!!

Comments are closed.