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Research Mission

The mission of the research division of Family and Community Medicine (FCM) at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (TTUHSC-PLSFSOM) is to advance the science of family medicine through the generation of knowledge to improve the health of the predominantly Hispanic US/Mexico Border population that we serve. The division seeks to become nationally recognized among departments of Family Medicine for engaging in high quality primary care research that improves the health of our community and eliminates disparities in health care.

A major research focus area for the division is cancer prevention and control, and this is very much in line with the Institutional goals of the Cancer Center of Excellence with which the department is closely aligned.  Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the USA, and although survival from cancer has improved over time, it is very much stage dependent - with the best hope of cure being earlier diagnosis and prevention. Our community suffers from a disproportionately high burden of some cancers, particularly breast and cervical cancer, and has lower rates of screening than other populations.

There is a rich environment for developing a research program in FCM: there is strong institutional and departmental support for the Research Division and access to a diverse clinic and community population for research. The department currently has two federally funded investigators that are focusing on recruiting new investigators to join this team with expertise in behavioral science, epidemiology, patient-provider communication, health promotion, health services research, or community based participatory research.

FCM departmental faculty and residents have a diverse range of interests which are reflected in the scholarly output from the department.

Current/Ongoing Projects

ACCION: Against Colorectal Cancer In Our Neighborhoods

PI: Navkiran Shokar, MD MPH

Funding: CPRIT (total costs: $2,700,000)

The project goal is to reduce the burden of colorectal cancer in our community and it brings much needed resources to our area. ACCION will increase community awareness and knowledge about colorectal cancer and the importance of screening, will provide access to no-cost screening and diagnostic colonoscopy, and will increase the use of all needed follow up tests and treatment services for eligible underinsured and uninsured residents of El Paso County.

Attitudes and Beliefs about Colorectal Cancer Screening in a Diverse Population

PI: Navkiran Shokar, MD MPH

Funding: NIH/NCI: K07 (total costs: $630,929)

To examine the mechanisms through which a person's race/ethnicity determines their colorectal cancer (CRC) screening behavior. To examine patient preference for the array of CRC screenings tests and systematically evaluate other influences on CRC screening such as health care delivery systems and physician factor. To integrate information into the design of a multi-level clinic intervention to increase CRC screening in Hispanics.

AMIGAS: Intervention to Increase Screening for Cervical Cancer in Women of Mexican Descent

PI: Theresa Byrd, Dr PH

Funding: CDC ($ 1,099,900 total cost)

The Purpose is to evaluate the efficacy of the AMIGAS intervention in a randomized, controlled trial. We also propose to evaluate the relative effectiveness of the core components of the intervention, and to describe the intervention characteristics, processes of delivery, and settings that facilitate program adoption, implementation, and maintenance.

Interactive CD-ROM on Breast Cancer Genetics for Hispanics

Co-PI: Theresa Byrd, Dr PH subcontract MDACC

Funding: NIH/NHGRI ($1,315,196 total direct cost)

The goals of this project are to develop an interactive CD-ROM to educate Hispanic women about cancer risk and genetic testing, and to conduct a randomized, controlled evaluation that compares the efficacy of the CD-ROM program when used alone vs. when used with a promotora-assisted approach.

Abnormal Pap- Smear Follow-Up Amongst Primary Care Hispanic Patients Along the US-Mexico Border

PI: Eribeth K. Penaranda, MD

To identify the prevalence of inadequate follow-up rates in predominately Hispanic, low-income patients who have been diagnosed as having abnormal Pap smear. To identify patient, clinic, and provider contributors to inadequate abnormal pap-smear follow-ups.

Diabetes Empowerment Education Program

PI: Navkiran Shokar, MD MPH

Funding: TMF Health Quality Institute, Total Cost $40,000

To evaluate the effectiveness of a 6 week diabetes education intervention (TMF Health Quality Institute Diabetes Curriculum) in managing diabetes in medically underserved populations. To asses patient knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and clinical indicators related to diabetes self management before and after intervention.

Employee Wellness Program, Weight Watchers Initiative

PI: Navkiran Shokar, MD MPH

To identify personal and environmental factors that are important for weight loss in a group of predominantly Mexican American health care workers involved in a workplace weight loss program.

Metabolic Syndrome and Cervical Cancer (NHANES)

PI: Eribeth K. Penaranda, MD

A case control study using the NHANES database to describe the association between components of the metabolic syndrome and cervical cancer incidence.

Patient Activation and Health Literacy: Their Effect in Diabetes Control

PI: Marco Diaz, MD

To assess the relationships between health literacy, patient activation (capacity of an individual to manage their own health), and biomarkers of diabetes control in Hispanic patients whose primarily language is Spanish.

Talking About Prevention Study, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

PI: Dr. Naomi Lynne Lacy, PhD

To assess how physicians and patients discuss health behavior change and what factors influence both the incidence of such conversations and the impact of such discussions on expectations to discuss health behavior change in the future.

Weight Loss Intervention

PI: Navkiran Shokar, MD MPH

To assess physician-initiated weight loss, wellness, and BMI discussions with patients to develop and  implement clinic based weight loss interventions.

An Open Access Shift in a Primary Care Border Medicine Clinic

PI: Dr. JB Abano, Oscar Noriega, MD

To evaluate the effectiveness of increasing satisfaction, continuity, and access for patients and providers at a primary care clinic along the US/Mexico Border, after an open access system shift.

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