A Tobacco-Free Penn Campus

The Student Health Service/Campus Health department at the University of Pennsylvania created videos to accompany their tobacco-free campus campaign. Watch their video, supported by the University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC), to learn more about their plans to improve health and create a more beautiful and sustainable campus.



Visit their website for more information on this ongoing project and look for the signage that alerts students and staff that Penn is Tobacco Free. Student Health Services has also provided a Tobacco Cessation Resources brochure to help students quit smoking.

UPenn PRC Anniversary Story > Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy: A Year of Progress


The University of Pennsylvania Celebrates 30 Years of the CDC’s Prevention Research Center Program

UPenn PRC Anniversary Story

December 2016

Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy: A Year of Progress


Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men; being African American is a key risk factor. Philadelphia, the fifth largest city in the US, is 44% black/ African American and in Pennsylvania, the incidence rate for prostate cancer is 58% higher for African American men than for white men.

These sobering statistics were incentive for UPenn PRC Director and Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, and Tim Rebbeck, PhD, to host the first Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy at the University of Pennsylvania in November, 2015. Sponsored by the UPenn PRC, the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network, and the Penn Center for Excellence in Prostate Cancer Disparities, the conference gathered nearly 100 attendees, including health care providers, researchers, policy makers, survivors, and advocates for a comprehensive symposium on prevention, control, awareness, and education.

The goal of the conference was not only to present the latest data but to engage clinicians, public health professionals, policy makers, and patients/survivors in bridging the gap between research and practice.  Bringing together the widest possible range of stakeholders created a unique model for sharing evidence-based research, models, and programs.

Neha Vapiwala, MD, a Penn associate professor of radiation oncology, attended the conference.  Now, she and Glanz are working on a new train-the-trainer project which provides respected and trusted community and religious leaders with basic information about prostate cancer.  The researchers see further applications of this model for other chronic diseases.

“Cultural myths and societal misperceptions about certain stigmatized diseases may prevent people from asking questions, understanding symptoms, or seeking care,” says Vapiwala,“Deep-rooted distrust of the health care system further exacerbates the problem.”  “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.”








Tobacco Taxes Help Tackle Smoking Addiction: Cheryl Bettigole, MD

bettigole-headshot-resizeIn a recent Philadelphia Inquirer Commentary,  Cheryl Bettigole, MD, UPenn PRC Community Advisory Board member and Director of the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, advocates broadening the tobacco tax increase adopted by the Pennsylvania legislature last summer.

The tax increase was applied only to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco.  Bettigole advocates including cigars and cigarillos.

“More than 10 percent of high school boys now smoke cigars and the failure to tax these products is likely to make them disproportionately cheap and hence more attractive to teens. Like e-cigarettes, cigarillos come in a multitude of flavors that seem designed to draw kids in, and are often displayed in Philadelphia’s neighborhood stores next to displays of candy and gum.”

Flavored tobacco products are a particular draw to young people.  According to Bettigole,  seven out of ten teens who start smoking begin with a flavored tobacco product.  Bettigole notes, “More than 90 percent of smokers start as teens and that addiction, once begun, can be impossible to break.”


Federal Law Fix Needed for Colorectal Cancer Screening: PRC Researcher Chyke Doubeni

Doubeni, Chyke - jacket-tie portraitWriting in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a loophole in the Affordable Care Act which disadvantages those who need colorectal cancer screening most,  PRC Researcher Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, suggests that “this unfortunate scenario occurs in part because the U.S. Congress unfairly limits the ability of low-income Medicare beneficiaries to receive screening. This compounds other barriers and perpetuates long-standing disparities in mortality from colon cancer for seniors.”

Doubeni notes that misclassifiying colonoscopy as a “one-time activity” rather than including it in the screening menu of “a series of clinical activities involved in identifying and testing patients and performing diagnostic confirmation when necessary” makes the test available only to Medicare patients who can afford supplemental policies.

PRC Researcher Chyke Doubeni on Health Disparities for Colorectal Cancer Screening



In the May 2016 issue of Gastroenterology, UPenn PRC Researcher Chyke Doubeni examines the barriers to screenings which provide early identification and prevention of colorectal cancer for low-income patients.  Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States; about 70% of those deaths occur in Medicare age-eligible patients.

Doubeni reviews the Affordable Care Act provisions intended to benefit low-income patients and examines why providers’ interpretations of those benefits have lead to confusion about insurance status of patients, insurance coverage for different steps of screening procedures, and reimbursement expectations.  Doubeni’s recommendations include Congressional action to amend and clarify the provisions.


Rural Cancer Prevention Center at the University of Kentucky Reaches Poorest Regions of the State


Our fellow PRC at the University of Kentucky, the Rural Cancer Prevention Center, was featured in an important story on the challenges of tackling cancer in rural Kentucky on PBS’s NewsHour on Friday, March 26, 2016.

The Rural Cancer Prevention Center is credited with advancing cancer screening and education in some of the poorest regions of the state.

See the story here:


Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarette Packs More Effective than Text: UPenn PRC Researcher Andrew Strasser

In PLOS ONE, Andrew Strasser, PhD, Co-Investigator on the UPenn PRC Skin Cancer Communication project, Daniel Romer, Ph.D, research director at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and fellow researchers reported on the first naturalistic clinical trial which shows that graphic warning labels are more effective than text-only warnings in encouraging smokers to consider quitting and in educating them about smoking’s risks.

Dr. Strasser’s tobacco regulatory research program examines the impact of advertising, marketing and labeling on risk perceptions and tobacco product use,  He has been project leader on 9 NIH/FDA funded projects and is currently an Associate Editor of Nicotine and Tobacco Research.


Read the article here.

Read the brief by Annenberg Public Policy Center here.

Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, UPenn PRC Director, Keynote Speaker at Int’l Conference on Skin Cancer Prevention

UPenn PRC Director Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, was a Keynote Speaker at the 3rd International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention in Melbourne Australia, Dec 7 – 11, 2015.


Speaking on the topic, “Effectiveness of Prevention on Melanoma and Non-Melanoma Reduction,” Dr. Glanz also was a panelist with Melanie Wakefield, PhD, of the Cancer Council, Victoria, Australia, and a consultant on the UPenn PRC Skin Cancer Prevention Communication Project, and Louisa Gordon, MPH, PhD, of Griffith University, NSW, Australia




Link between red and processed meat and cancer on Knowledge@Wharton

On SiriusXM’s Knowledge@Wharton, Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, UPenn PRC Director and Professor of Epidemiology, and Jason Riis, PhD, Marketing Lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, discussed how the World Health Organization came to its conclusions about a link between red & processed meats and colorectal cancer, how important it is to understand the measurements that were used, and how cancers and diseases other than colorectal cancer should be considered among the health risks.

Read the WHO Q & A here.


Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy at the University of Pennsylvania , Nov 13, 2015

Under the direction of Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, and Tim Rebbeck, PhD, the UPenn PRC, the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network, and the Penn Center for Excellence in Prostate Cancer Disparities presented the Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy at the University of Pennsylvania. Nearly 100 attendees, including researchers, policymakers, survivors, and advocates, as well as physicians and other health care providers, gathered for a comprehensive symposium on prostate cancer prevention, control, awareness, and education.

Dr. Glanz, Director of the UPenn PRC, introduced the plenary sessions and keynote.

Linda Jacobs, PhD, RN, presented at a Survivorship/Advocacy session on the Medical and Psychosocial Effects of Cancer Treatment in Survivors. Dr. Jacobs discussed the shift in prostate cancer research from cure to long-term survivorship and long-term vs. late effects of treatment. She is a Co-Investigator for UPenn PRC SIP 15-001 Self-Management Education for Childhood Cancer Survivors.

A panel discussion, “Research to Policy: Improving Prostate Cancer Outcomes,” was moderated by Neha Vapiwala, MD, University of Pennsylvania, and included Lorelei Mucci, ScD, MPH, Epidemiology, Christopher Saigal, MD, Medical Decision Making, Justin Bekelman, MD, Research and Practice, and Michael Scott, Activism and Education.

Christopher J. Logothetis, MD, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

“Transitioning from a Prognostic to a Predictive Classification of Prostate Cancer”

Lorelei Mucci, ScD,MPH, Harvard, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University

“Epidemiology of Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression”

Colonel Jim Williams, MS, Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition

“Men: The Silent Majority – Prostate Cancer Advocacy”


Dr. Carmen Guerra in The Philadelphia Inquirer on the WHO report regarding processed meats and cancer risks

In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Carmen Guerra, MD, MSCE, discussed the new World Health Organization’s conclusions about carcinogens in bacon and other processed meats and the overall picture for cancer risks.  Dr. Guerra is a Co-Investigator on the UPenn PRC Cancer Prevention & Control Research Network Center



Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy 2015

This one-day CME/CNE-certified conference presents the latest evidence, research, and model programs that are proven effective or being studied to improve prostate cancer prevention, control, treatment, and survivorship.  Therefore, the goal of the event is to engage clinicians, public health professionals, policymakers, and patients/survivors to reduce the burden of prostate cancer and bridge the gap between research and practice.


What: The Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy, a continuing education event hosted by The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania


When: Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM


Where: The Inn at Penn, 3600 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.


Registration is no longer available.

As a result, of this and other evidence academies, the team published an article in Preventive Medicine. Read the journal article here.