2022 Bridging the Gap Research Awardees

Jessica Rivera Rivera, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Fellow in Behavioral Oncology T32 Program,
Moffitt Cancer Center

Research Project: eHealth Genetic Education for Younger Colorectal Cancer Patients

Institutional Mentor: Susan Vadaparampil, PhD
SBM Mentor: Kate Wolin, ScD

My research project proposes an alternative approach to address existing disparities in genetic services by expediting the genetic testing process and facilitating guideline-concordant genetic care to early-onset colorectal cancer patients. In this project we partnered with Nest --a novel, interactive, customizable eHealth platform-- to create and refine a pretest genetic education tool for early-onset colorectal cancer patients from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. This project will lay the foundation for a larger study that will test the eHealth genetic education tool in a randomized controlled trial among early-onset colorectal cancer patients.

The SBM Bridging the Gap Research Award will support my work by funding a pilot study that will evaluate and adapt the eHealth pre-test genetic education tool based on patients’ and providers’ attitudes on comprehension, self-efficacy, attraction, cultural-linguistic acceptability and usability of the intervention. The expertise of my SBM Mentor, Dr. Kate Wolin, and the preliminary data obtained from this study will support my future grant applications addressing disparities in genetic services that are targeted to new investigators from the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society.

As a Bridging the Gap Research Awardee, I hope to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this program and demonstrate my ability to successfully lead a funded study.

Maricarmen Vizcaino, PhD, E-RYT
Postdoctoral Fellow
Arizona State University

Research Project: The Development of a Plant-Based Diet T2D Intervention for Hispanics

Institutional Mentor: Christopher Wharton, PhD
SBM Mentor: Valerie Myers, PhD

The major goal of my project is to develop a plant-based diet type 2 diabetes (T2D) prevention intervention that is evidence-based and culturally adapted for US Hispanics. My first step will be to conduct an exploration of the cultural elements, perceived barriers, and environmental constraints that may facilitate and/or hinder the adoption of plant-based diets among Hispanic adults at risk for developing T2D via in-depth face-to-face interviews. My second step will be to develop and empirically test a theoretical model that can guide a future plant-based diet T2D prevention intervention for US Hispanics using structural equation modeling.

This award offers me the unique opportunity to simultaneously collect pilot data for my first large grant proposal, expand my research skills, and contribute to our understanding of the optimal approach to develop behavioral interventions that are culturally sensitive and innovative for today’s Hispanic population that is both bilingual and educated like never before. I am hoping that the data I will be able to generate take a step closer towards the elimination of assumptions that we sometimes have as researchers (for example, that Hispanic interventions should only be in Spanish and adapted for a low-literacy level) and impede the progress of behavioral science.

I am honored to have been granted this award. I would like to thank Dr. Sharon Manne and SBM for this incredibly opportunity that supports people like me. Because of my national background, I have experienced many more barriers in my academic path compared to my fellow colleagues. I hope awards like this one is the first of many more to come for future generations of behavioral scientists that have the talent, the passion, and the commitment to make a difference.