After receiving a $705,143 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USF assistant professor Tamara Baker is creating a research team for a five-year study on cancer pain management.
The study focuses on cancer patients who are at least 65 years old, specifically minorities such as blacks, and women, Baker said.
“I’m going to be implementing an education-based intervention among older blacks and whites diagnosed with either breast, prostate, colon or lung cancer,” Baker said. “My primary focus is to see if there are any differences in cancer pain management between the groups.”
One hundred patients – 50 white and 50 black – from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute on campus and the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando will participate in the study.
Older blacks who have cancer pain tend to be “underserved” and also less included in research studies, said USF School of Aging Studies professor William Haley, one of Baker’s mentors required by the grant.
USF School of Aging Studies professor Brent Small, who specializes in statistical methods, will assist Baker in designing her studies.
“These types of awards allow people to do research on the topic and gain additional expertise in a field they have not been trained in,” Small said. “I will … provide feedback as well as try to identify educational opportunities that I think will help benefit her career development.”
Baker said the money is a “mentoring award” specifically for researchers studying minorities, and interested in clinical work and cancer research.
Baker’s research team will consist of a graduate student, two research assistants and four nursing students.
“We will be working collectively and I will be the principal investigator,” Baker said. “The graduate student will sort of act as the project manager, the nursing students will actually implement the intervention, and the research assistant will be helping in the selection process and retaining the patients.”
The NCI grant will provide funding for the entire project, including Baker’s salary, the graduate student’s schooling, the salaries of the research assistants for five years and compensation for the participating patients, Baker said.
“I hope that I can eventually write another grant to the NCI for more money, increase the number of individuals in my study and have a more diverse pool of patients in the study,” she said.