kglanz-pink-jacket-croppedheadshot-aspph-conferenceUPenn PRC Director and Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Karen Glanz, PhD, is tackling the stigma associated with prostate cancer in a new project with collaborator Neha Vapiwala, MD, Penn associate professor of radiation oncology.  Building on the 2015 UPenn PRC Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy conference, Glanz and Vapiwala seek to empower prostate cancer patients with information and support that will help them with decision making about their medical and treatment choices. “The conference was a first venture of its kind for us,” Glanz says. “Out of that came some clear needs, and some of them really converged with what Neha had noticed in her clinic.”

The project, funded in part by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, was inspired by a health-conscious, African-American, 40-something patient of Vapiwala’s who was unaware a man his age could get prostate cancer.  The researchers envision a train-the-trainer type program. Phase one, in process, is four focus groups composed of African Americans and Latinos, two high-risk populations. Part two will include creating mini-curricula and working with community organizations to select the trainers.  Glanz and Vapiwala believe their approach may be applicable to other diseases. “We’re using prostate cancer as a model,” Vapiwala says. “You could insert cervical cancer, diabetes, or any number of health conditions associated with stigma, fear, and mistrust.”

Read more about the project in Penn Current.