05DP – Testing Scalable, IVR-Supported Cancer Prevention Interventions in the Rural Alabama Black Belt

Status: Filled – Lauren Boone
Intern: Lauren Boone
Faculty Name: dori-pekmezi-3
Primary Faculty Appointment: UAB
UAB/HA Department: na
Campus Address: RPHB 227P
Telephone Number: (205) 975-8061
Email: dpekmezi@uab.edu or Click to Send E-Mail
For how many summers have you served as a preceptor: 3 or more
CCC Research Area: Cancer Control & Population Science
Number of hours per week that the preceptor will personally supervise or work with the intern: 5
Other faculty, staff, or graduate students who may help to supervise the intern:
1. Sh’Nese Townsend
2. Nashira Brown
Title of Project: 05DP – Testing Scalable, IVR-Supported Cancer Prevention Interventions in the Rural Alabama Black Belt
Project Description:

Regular physical activity (PA) is linked to lower risk for several cancers (breast, colon, endometrial). Yet, most Americans are inactive, particularly in the Deep South. Cancer incidence/mortality is also generally higher in this region, with underserved (rural, African American) populations reporting even less PA and disproportionate cancer burden. Factors related to culture, distance from PA facilities, income, literacy, and Internet connectivity in the Deep South may limit access to PA information/resources and contribute to existing cancer disparities.

Telephone-supported interventions have shown success in increasing PA, do not require clinic visits, literacy, or costly technology, and thus may represent a promising strategy for promoting PA for cancer risk reduction in the Deep South, especially when automated with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems for improved cost-effectiveness and reach. Thus, we adapted an existing IVR system, used in past HIV studies, for PA promotion and cancer prevention in the Deep South through extensive literature review and formative research [11 focus groups on PA intervention needs/preferences with Deep South Network For Cancer Control community health advisors (CHAs) and community members]. A pilot trial of the resulting Deep south IVR-supported Active Lifestyle (DIAL) intervention (R03CA177538) found high retention and participant satisfaction at 12 weeks. Moreover, DIAL produced larger increases in MVPA (42.5 more min/week) from baseline to 12 weeks than a waitlist control, along with significantly greater improvements in PA self-regulation and social support. Results have informed intervention enhancements in preparation for scale up and dissemination in rural counties.

The current study will involve a fully powered randomized controlled trial of the refined, multi-level 12 month DIAL intervention with a waitlist control condition (N=240 rural, mostly African American adults). Recruitment will be led by Deep South Network for Cancer Control CHAs in Black Belt counties (involved in project since initial formative research). Primary aims include examining arm differences in changes in moderate intensity or greater aerobic physical activity from baseline to 6 and 12 months. Exploratory aims include examining intervention effects on physical performance and psychosocial variables; changes in physical activity from 12-18 months; intervention costs; potential mediators and moderators of treatment efficacy; and potential barriers/facilitators to widespread implementation of DIAL intervention in rural Black belt counties by Deep South Network for Cancer Control.

Project Status: Already up and running
Location of Project: Birmingham, AL (UAB)
Proposed Start Date: May 3, 2021
Proposed End Date: August 27, 2021
Expected work schedule for intern: Flexible, intern can largely set his or her own schedule (as for students who are instructed how to proceed and are permitted to work independently with weekly guidance) and should contribute full-time effort.
Number of days that the student will be expected to come physically to UAB:
1 day or a few days as needed
Category of Project: Community-Based or Field Research
Cancer topic: physical activity
Does this project involve human subjects: Yes
Does this project involve animal subjects: No

data collection/entry


data analysis/reporting


participant contacts/interviews

Preceptor will provide intern with access to the following: Office or desk space, Computer and printer, Supplies needed to complete project, Equipment needed to complete project
Likelihood that intern will be included as an author on one or more publications related to this summer research project: Very likely
Areas in which the ideal candidates will have experience: NONE OF THE ABOVE (just the willingness to learn)