May 21, 2014

In its inaugural seed grant competition, the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy has selected a proposal entitled "Health Literacy, Colorectal Cancer Screening Preference, and Shared Decision Making in African Americans." Erin Tagai (pictured at left), a doctoral student in behavioral and community health, and Dr. Cheryl Holt, associate professor of behavioral and community health, are the recipients of the $12,600 award to fund research activities.

Through surveying a local sample of individuals aged 50 to 75, the project aims to assess the relationship between health literacy and screening for colorectal cancer in African Americans, a group that is disproportionately impacted by the disease. It also seeks to examine the relationship between health literacy and patient-provider shared decision making, which has been shown to be a significant predictor of cancer screening completion. According to the researchers, the findings of this study will help to inform future research aiming to improve shared decision making and colorectal cancer screening rates in populations with limited health literacy.

Participants in the study will be recruited from Project HEAL (Health through Early Awareness and Learning), an ongoing community-based cancer early detection project based in 14 African-American churches Prince George's County. Led by Dr. Holt, Project HEAL is funded by the National Cancer Institute and one of several initiatives of CHAMP (Community Health Awareness, Messages, & Prevention), which uses safe and familiar faith-based environments to build relationships between researchers and community members.

Related People
Erin Tagai, Cheryl L. Knott
Related Degree: 
PhD, Behavioral and Community Health