VCU Massey Cancer Center Receives NIH Grant to Develop Tool to Measure Health Literacy in Cancer Patients
Sathya Achia Abraham
University Public Affairs
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the Virginia Commonwealth Massey Cancer Center a National Cancer Institute grant totaling nearly $3 million to develop a standardized test to measure health literacy among cancer patients.
The four-year grant will be led by Levent Dumenci, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Health in the VCU School of Medicine and the founding director of Behavioral Measurement Core Facility at the VCU Massey Cancer Center. Dumenci is collaborating with Robin K. Matsuyama, Ph.D., assistant professor of social and behavioral health in the VCU School of Medicine, and Laura A. Siminoff, Ph.D., professor and chair of the VCU Department of Social and Behavioral Health and associate director for Prevention and Control at Massey.
To develop the test, Dumenci, Matsuyama and Siminoff will identify cancer patients who need help and extra support to handle the complexities of their medical care at the time of diagnosis and better assist them as they go through treatment. This measure would be the first health literacy measure designed specifically for cancer patients.
“Recent research shows that individuals with low health literacy are more likely to have limited knowledge about cancer screening, and it is a contributing factor to insufficient utilization of preventive health services. We hope that the test we develop will help identify cancer patients with inadequate levels of health literacy so that they receive the help they need in a timely manner,” said Dumenci.
Dumenci has a distinguished publication record on test development, multimethod measurement, statistical modeling of behavior and measurement of change.
- About the VCU Massey Cancer Center
VCU Massey Cancer Center is one of only 66 National Cancer Institute-designated institutions in the country that leads and shapes America’s cancer research efforts. Working with all kinds of cancers, the Center conducts basic, translational and clinical cancer research, provides state-of-the-art treatments and clinical trials, and promotes cancer prevention and education. Since 1974, Massey has served as an internationally recognized center of excellence. It offers a wide range of clinical trials throughout Virginia, oftentimes the most trials in the state, and serves patients in Richmond and in four satellite locations. Its 1,000 researchers, clinicians and staff members are dedicated to improving the quality of human life by developing and delivering effective means to prevent, control and ultimately to cure cancer. Visit Massey online at www.massey.vcu.edu or call 877-4-MASSEY for more information.
- About VCU and the VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 223 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.