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West Cancer Foundation awards research grants to U of M faculty to study health disparities

Established in the fall of 2020, the West Cancer Foundation Initiative was created to cultivate research across the U of M campus in areas that advance cancer treatment, promote community health and wellness, and/or provide supportive patient care. The researchers were encouraged to involve partners from area community organizations and other regional institutions to further support the collective goals of the initiative.

Through this research partnership, West Cancer Foundation and the University of Memphis seek to discover and address barriers to cancer care and promote health equity. The initiative addresses healthcare disparities and inequities related to health equity, community outreach, and HPV vaccinations, and closing the disparity gaps in cancer screenings.

Proposals from University faculty and researchers were reviewed by West Cancer Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee chaired by Dr. William H. West, founder of West Cancer Center.

“I am pleased West Cancer Foundation is supporting three grant requests through our novel initiative with a first-class university. The proposals address issues of national significance related to HPV studies, relationships between evictions and health outcomes, and all fall squarely within our focus on disparities related to cancer prevention and care”, said Dr. Bill West.

Three awards were given to the following studies and researchers:

  • “Racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare service utilization among uterine cancer survivors: New evidence from pre and post-Affordable Care Act of 2010” by E. Olusegun George, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences (Statistics), Albert A. Okunade, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Economics, Ahmed R. Osmani, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Economics
  • “Assessing Disparities in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination in the Mid- South” by Seok Won Jin, Ph.D., MSW, MA, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Sohye Lee, Ph.D., RN, Assistant Professor, Loewenberg College of Nursing, The University of Memphis, Community Partner: Heather M. Brandt, Ph.D., Director, HPV Cancer Prevention Program, Co-associate Director for Outreach, St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center, Member, Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control
  • “The geography of evictions in Memphis: relationships between eviction filings and neighborhood socioeconomic and health outcomes” by Professor, Division of Health Systems Management & Policy, School of Public Health, Katy Ramsey, Assistant Professor of Law; Director, Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Austin Harrison, Research Fellow for Innovate Memphis; Ph.D. Candidate, Urban Studies, Georgia State University.

More information about these research projects or the West Cancer Foundation Initiative can be requested via

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