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Grant to study cancer prevention through urban churches

Wed, 10/05/2011

Crystal Y. Lumpkins


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LAWRENCE — Crystal Y. Lumpkins, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, has received a $600,000 National Cancer Institute grant that will allow her to conduct a five-year study to obtain crucial preliminary data to investigate the role of the African-American church in communicating colorectal cancer prevention among African-Americans in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan.

“When we talk about the populations I’m working with, in order to address the issues they have with cancer and prevention, you have to look at it holistically,” Lumpkins said. “You can’t look at these individuals as numbers or statistics, but rather as a culture.”

The research scientist development award aims to develop minority researchers who show promise in contributing to successful cancer research and achieving well-established research careers. The award also comes on the tail end of KU’s application for National Cancer Institute designation that occurred Sept. 20.

“We are proud of Professor Lumpkins and the work she is doing to improve health care communication among minorities,” said Dean Ann Brill of the KU School of Journalism. “Her work has the potential to save lives.”

Lumpkins said she is thrilled about the award and appreciates the opportunity to advance her research and address health disparities in the area.

“This award will give me the support I need to become an established researcher and scientist. The reason I began this journey wasn’t about me, however, but about the lives that I could reach through this type of research to help change the current state of health in our region,” Lumpkins said.

Lumpkins’ primary area of research is cancer communication. Her past research has included breast cancer research among minorities and underserved populations. She also has an interest in health literacy issues, targeting adolescents and healthy eating and nutrition. Allen Greiner, associate chair of research for family medicine at the KU Medical Center, said Lumpkins’ work is expected to help raise awareness and better promote screening.

"Dr. Lumpkins’ work with inner-city churches is timely and important. Urban adults face a number of health disparities, and cancer is no exception,” Greiner said. “Colon cancer death can be largely prevented through early detection and screening, and Dr. Lumpkins’ project will help raise awareness and lead to discoveries around colon cancer screening promotion that move us forward. We expect her work to lead to many future programs to improve health both within and beyond the walls of churches in our region."

Prior to coming to KU, Lumpkins worked as a broadcast reporter, producer, television promotions writer, newspaper reporter and public relations consultant. Lumpkins earned her doctorate in journalism with an emphasis in health communication and strategic communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2007.

For more on Lumpkins, visit here.



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