Winter 2020-2021 Newsletter

Dear Colleagues,

William Klein

As we approach the end of the calendar year and nine months into our COVID-19 journey, I remain awed by and grateful to our research community for their exceptional resilience and determination to continue their important work in cancer control. I hope you are receiving the necessary support from BRP staff to carry out your research. This NIH Extramural Nexus blog post features helpful information on how Program Directors/Officials can provide guidance to investigators, both before and after getting funded. 

NIH remains actively involved in COVID-related initiatives, including the fourth large-scale COVID-19 vaccine trial in the United States. Additionally, NIH is expanding enrollment in two randomized, placebo controlled clinical trials evaluating convalescent plasma as a treatment for people hospitalized with COVID-19. Both trials are currently enrolling volunteers, including those from communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. An NIH news release provides an overview of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program, which provides funding to assess and expand COVID-19 testing for underserved communities. Several BRP grantees received funding as part of the RADx-UP program. View the full list of funded projects.

BRP grantee Dr. Todd Lucas, the C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health at Michigan State University, was awarded a U01 as part of NCI’s Serological Sciences Network for COVID-19 (SeroNet) initiative. The grant is titled “Culturally targeted communication to promote SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing in saliva: enabling evaluation of inflammatory pathways in COVID-19 racial disparities” and will recruit 500 eligible children, young adults, and older adults from the Flint Registry in Flint, MI. Participants will be randomized to receive a general or culturally tailored video tutorial about the use of saliva for SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing.

Our Division recently awarded 96 administrative supplements to NCI-designated Cancer Centers to expand their capacity and implement cancer control initiatives in several areas, including cancer and aging, community outreach and engagement, and tobacco cessation.

A tri-agency Perspective articleexit disclaimer, co-authored by Dr. Ned Sharpless—NCI Director, Dr. Robert Redfield—Director of CDC, and Dr. Stephen Hahn—Commissioner of Food and Drugs at FDA, discusses federal initiatives to address cigarette smoking—the country’s longest-running epidemic. Along similar lines, a recent Cancer Currents blog post discusses the finding that both teens and young adults are at risk for smoking initiation. The article features quotes from BRP Program Director Dr. Annette Kaufman and emphasizes the importance of reinforcing comprehensive tobacco control policies to keep young adults from starting or becoming regular cigarette smokers. Tobacco researchers will be interested to know that the recent partnership between NCI and Cancer Research UK includes among its nine Cancer Grand Challenges one that focuses specifically on e-cigarette use. We also reissued a funding opportunity related to tobacco control policies as well as an RFA targeting social and behavioral intervention research to address modifiable risk factors for cancer in rural populations.

Health misinformation has been a topic of particular relevance these days, and I’m pleased to share that NCI and the American Journal of Public Health recently released a special issue focused on health misinformation and social media, guest edited by BRP staff Dr. Sylvia Chou and Ms. Anna Gaysynsky. Several articles make specific note of misinformation regarding the current pandemic.

In this issue, you’ll notice a new format. We’re providing citations to select BRP grantee and staff publications in efforts to streamline the content.

Finally, we are pleased to welcome new staff to our program including two new BRP program directors (Dr. Heather D’Angelo and Dr. Jennifer Guida) and two Cancer Prevention Fellows (Dr. Andrew Seidenberg and Dr. Kimberly Clevenger). We would also like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Emily Tonorezos—the new Director of NCI’s Office of Cancer Survivorship.

As a reminder, you’re free to manage your BRP newsletter subscription at any time, but we hope you find the information beneficial. If you’re on social media, make sure to follow us on Twitter at @NCIBehaviors.exit disclaimer

Wishing you and your families a safe and rewarding holiday season.

Bill Klein

Funding Opportunities

New Funding Opportunities

Social and Behavioral Intervention Research to Address Modifiable Risk Factors for Cancer in Rural Populations

R01 Clinical Trial Required; RFA-CA-20-051

BRP Contact: Dr. Kelly Blake

Posted: September 15, 2020

First Receipt Date: March 15, 2021

Expires: January 19, 2022

Stephen I. Katz Early Stage Investigator Research Project Grant

R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed; PAR-21-038

NCI Contact: Mr. Scott Rogers

Posted: November 09, 2020

First Receipt Date: January 26, 2021

Expires: December 29, 2023

Stephen I. Katz Early Stage Investigator Research Project Grant

R01 Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required; PAR-21-039

NCI Contact: Mr. Scott Rogers

Posted: November 09, 2020

First Receipt Date: January 26, 2021

Expires: December 29, 2023

Notice of NIH Participation in Smart Health and Biomedical Research in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Data Science


BRP Contact: Dr. Robin Vanderpool

Posted: November 24, 2020

Cancer Grand Challenges

NCI and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) created the Cancer Grand Challengesexit disclaimer program to seek novel ideas by multidisciplinary research teams from around the world that offer the potential to advance bold cancer research and improve outcomes for people affected by cancer. Nine challenges have been released as part of this effort, including a challenge to address the impact of e-cigarette use. Expressions of interest for the challenges are now open, and final teams will be announced in 2022. A pre-application webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST. Learn about the Cancer Grand Challenges program >>exit disclaimer Register for the webinar>>exit disclaimer


Tobacco Control Policies to Promote Health Equity

R01 Clinical Trial Optional; PAR-20-302

R21 Clinical Trial Optional; PAR-20-303

BRP Contact: Dr. Bob Vollinger

Posted: September 04, 2020

First Receipt Date: November 12, 2020

Expires: September 08, 2023

Cancer Prevention and Control Clinical Trials Grant Program

R01 Clinical Trial Required; PAR-21-035

BRP Contact: Dr. Susan Czajkowski

Posted: September 04, 2020

First Receipt Date: February 05, 2021

Expires: January 08, 2024

COVID-19 Resources and Information

Initial All of Us COVID-19 survey data now available

The All of Us Research Program released an updated version of the Researcher Workbench, with expanded health data and upgraded tools to drive new biomedical discoveries. Researchers now have access to information on participants’ experience with the COVID-19 pandemic through answers to survey questions on mental health, social distancing, and economic impacts. The new release also includes the program’s first set of Fitbit data, with information about participants’ physical activity and more. Learn more >>

Extended guidance for preparing applications during the COVID-19 pandemic

NIH has extended its guidance on preparing grant applications during the COVID-19 pandemic. This NIH Extramural Nexus blog post specifies that NIH grant applications should not include contingency plans that would outline steps needed to recover from temporary, emergency situations, or institutional return-to-the-workplace plans, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more >>

COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Report now available

The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine to control the COVID-19 pandemic is highly dependent on the public’s confidence in and willingness to receive the vaccines. This NIH report outlines evidence-informed communication strategies to foster COVID-19 vaccine confidence across diverse audience segments. It is coauthored by BRP Program Director Dr. Sylvia Chou, BRP collaborator Ms. Anna Gaysynsky, and colleagues from the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, in consultation with leading experts in social and behavioral sciences and public health. Read the report >>

NCI, NIBIB awarded contracts to develop innovative digital health technologies for COVID-19

NCI and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) have awarded seven contracts to companies and academic institutions to develop digital health solutions that help address the COVID-19 pandemic. The work could lead to user-friendly tools like smartphone apps, wearable devices, and software that can identify and trace contacts of infected individuals, keep track of verified COVID-19 test results, and monitor the health status of infected and potentially infected individuals. Read more >>

Using emotion to address vaccine hesitancy in COVID-19 vaccine communication

The development and uptake of a preventive vaccine will play an important role in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence-based communication strategies are critical to address vaccine hesitancy and reluctance. This commentary highlights multiple ways negative as well as positive emotions may be considered and leveraged for communication efforts.

Chou, W.S., Budenz, A. Considering emotion in COVID-19 vaccine communication: Addressing vaccine hesitancy and fostering vaccine confidence. Health Commun (2020).

Health Misinformation and Social Media – AJPH Supplement

The NCI partnered with the American Journal of Public Health to publish a special issue highlighting cutting-edge research that addresses critical issues surrounding health misinformation on social media. Edited by BRP Program Director Dr. Sylvia Chou and BRP collaborator Anna Gaysynsky, the special issue showcases diverse approaches to a rapidly expanding research area and addresses topics such as vaccine misinformation, unproven cancer treatments, and rumors about emerging infectious diseases. The issue also highlights the role of health care providers in addressing health misinformation and important ethical considerations for health promotion efforts on social media. The issue includes articles co-authored by BRP branch chief Dr. Robin Vanderpool and grantees Dr. Joseph Cappella, Dr. Bernard Fuemmeler, Dr. Linnea Laestadius, Dr. Xiaoli Nan, and Dr. Andy Tan. Read the full issue >>exit disclaimer

In the News

Podcast on social media and public health

BRP Program Director Dr. Sylvia Chou was interviewed by the editor of The Odin Media Projectexit disclaimer to discuss the interplay between social media and public health. Listen to podcast >>exit disclaimer  

Staffing News

Dr. Heather D’Angelo joined the BRP Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch as a Program Director in July. Dr. D’Angelo comes to NCI from the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center. Her research expertise is in health behavior theory and cancer prevention and control, specifically as it relates to multilevel factors that contribute to cancer health disparities. Dr. D’Angelo also served as an NCI Cancer Prevention Fellow in BRP where she developed and led independent research studies using the Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating (FLASHE) study to understand behavioral and environmental determinants of adolescent physical activity and dietary intake. Dr. D’Angelo received her Ph.D. in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, her M.H.S. in Human Nutrition from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and her B.S. in Biochemistry from Northeastern University.

Dr. Jennifer Guida, formerly a BRP Cancer Research Training Award post-doctoral fellow, is now a Program Director in the Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch. She leads a research program from a life course perspective to improve longevity and quality of life for cancer survivors as they age. Dr. Guida’s research program utilizes biological and clinical measures of aging to better understand the aging consequences of cancer and cancer treatments. She is interested in pharmacologic and behavioral interventions to improve the health span and minimize treatment-related effects for cancer survivors. Dr. Guida also has scientific interests in social relationships, health behaviors, and social determinants of health as they relate to aging endpoints. Dr. Guida received her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Maryland, her M.P.H. from the University of Colorado, and her bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Arizona State University.

Dr. Andrew Seidenberg joined BRP as a first-year Cancer Prevention Fellow with a primary appointment in the Office of the Associate Director and a secondary appointment in the Tobacco Control Research Branch. Dr. Seidenberg is interested in research that can inform cancer prevention policies and communications, with an emphasis on tobacco control, skin cancer prevention, and alcohol consumption.

Dr. Kimberly Clevenger joined BRP as a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the Health Behaviors Research Branch. Dr. Clevenger is interested in how health behaviors like physical activity vary over time and space and how this affects subsequent positive and negative environmental exposures. Additionally, she researches measurement-related issues and the use of device-based approaches to assessing physical activity and its context.

Career and Training

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Communication and Informatics Research

The Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch invites applications from qualified candidates for a Cancer Research Training Award Post-Doctoral Fellowship position. The fellow will work on projects directly related to branch research priorities and may include cancer communication surveillance, social media, health misinformation, data mining, health literacy, health informatics, and mixed-methods approaches to health communication research. Applicants must have a doctoral degree in public health, communication, behavioral and social sciences or a related discipline and a strong interest in interdisciplinary cancer prevention and control research. Read the position description >>

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Tobacco Control Research

The Tobacco Control Research Branch invites applications from qualified candidates for a Cancer Research Training Award Post-Doctoral Fellowship position. The fellow will work as part of a multidisciplinary team of federal staff, contractors, and external scientists who plan and implement tobacco control research activities. Day-to-day activities may include contributing to manuscripts for peer-reviewed journal publications, conducting literature reviews or environmental scans, performing data analyses, writing scientific content for federal and other audiences, developing consumer-focused cessation content for online or social media platforms or promotion, participating in team meetings, and attending seminars and other training opportunities. Applicants must have a doctoral degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., psychology, epidemiology, public health, health policy, health communication, medicine, biostatistics) and a strong interest in tobacco control research and behavioral science research. Read the position description >>

Health Behaviors Program Director position

BRP welcomes letters of interest for a Program Director position in BRP’s Health Behaviors Research Branch. Qualified applicants should have a Ph.D. or equivalent and experience in any relevant area of cancer-related health behaviors and behavior change, especially those with expertise in behavioral genomics, behavioral economics, cancer survivorship, health geography, systems science and organizational behavior, or epidemiology. Read the position description »

Selected Scientific Advances

Health Behaviors Research

Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Research

Health Communication and Informatics Research

Tobacco Control Research


Access DCCPS webinars on-demand

All recorded DCCPS webinars and trainings have now been compiled into a single webpage with an easy-to-use search function to home in on the topics of most interest to you. Whether you want guidance on research methods or the use of NCI datasets or are interested in scientific topics across the cancer continuum, this resource offers countless hours of information and education. Explore the DCCPS Webinars and Trainings page >>

NCCOR Guide to Methods for Assessing Childhood Obesity

The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) recently released A Guide to Methods for Assessing Childhood Obesity, a new tool to help researchers, clinicians, and students who conduct population-level research and/or evaluation on obesity understand the most common adiposity assessment methods and select the most appropriate method for their objectives. The Guide describes six methods commonly used to assess body composition in children and highlights procedures, validity and reliability, reference data, accessibility, cost, and participant burden and risk. It also includes unique case studies that illustrate considerations for selecting various methods based on the research aim, study design, and setting. Access the guide >>exit disclaimer

NASEM Report on Health and Active Transportation Conference

The Transportation Research Board, a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, held a conference on Health and Active Transportation in December 2019 with support from NCI and NIH. The conference brought together leaders from the transportation and health disciplines to chart a course for the future of active transportation. Themes focused on innovative practices, building strategic institutional relationships, and identifying research needs and opportunities. The Transportation Research Circular E-C264: Conference on Health and Active Transportation summarizes the plenary sessions and individual breakout sessions. Go to the report >>exit disclaimer

Healthy People 2030

The logo for Healthy People 2030

The fifth iteration of the Healthy People initiative—Healthy People 2030—is now available. With fewer objectives and higher data standards, Healthy People 2030 is more focused and rigorous than previous iterations of the initiative. New objectives for this decade address emerging health issues — like adolescents’ use of e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco. A Custom List tool enables users to build a list of Healthy People 2030 objectives that are relevant to their work — and track them over the decade. A COVID-19 Custom List displays objectives that are relevant to helping the nation become more resilient to public health threats like COVID-19. In addition, the online Healthy People experience has been improved with intuitive navigation, a more sophisticated search tool, and objectives organized into user-friendly topics.

There is a stronger focus on social determinants of health and for the first time in the initiative’s history, the Healthy People 2030 objectives that are directly tied to social determinants of health have 10-year targets. Similar to Healthy People 2020, the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) will provide data and results to support several Healthy People 2030 objectives related to health communication and health information technology. These include measuring the proportion of adults who report that their health care providers always involved them in decisions about their health care as much as they wanted and tracking the proportion of adults who use information technology to track health care data or communicate with providers. Learn more about Healthy People 2030 >>

New RePORTER tools now available

The NIH RePORTER site has recently been updated to enhance the user experience. With faster performance, mobile-friendly access, and an intuitive Quick Search, users can find the information they need more quickly and easily. Other upgrades include filterable results, new data visualizations, project details on one scrollable page, and new search filters to easily and quickly identify awarded grant projects and supplements related to COVID-19. Visit the new RePORTER site >>

SRNT-University (SRNT-U) podcast—Tobacco Use After a Cancer Diagnosis

NCI Program Director Dr. Stephanie Land partnered with the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco (SRNT) to create the podcast series “Tobacco Use After a Cancer Diagnosis”exit disclaimer for SRNT University. Each podcast features an interview with a tobacco control researcher, with topics ranging from the biology of nicotine exposure and cancer to the health care cost attributable to continued tobacco use after cancer diagnosis. To date, interviews feature the following experts:

Dr. Graham Warren (Medical University of South Carolina)
Dr. Monica Webb-Hooper (National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities)
Dr. Donna Shelley (New York University)
Dr. Robert Schnoll (University of Pennsylvania)
Dr. Scott Weed (West Virginia University)
Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi (Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai, India)
Dr. Michael Fiore (University of Wisconsin)
Dr. Srikumar Chellappan (Moffitt Cancer Center)
Dr. Mohan Devbhandari (Bhaktapur, Nepal)

New episodes are added regularly. Go to the podcast series »exit disclaimer

Team Science chapter now open access

Written by BRP Program Director Dr. Kara Hall and collaborators, Dr. Amanda L. Vogel and Dr. Kevin Crowston, the chapter titled Comprehensive collaboration plans: Practical considerations spanning across individual collaborators to institutional Supports, from the book Strategies for Success Team Science Success, is now available through open access. This chapter provides a framework called Collaboration Planning to guide the successful integration and application of principles and strategies for effective team science. The framework guides current and future collaborators on addressing ten key influences on scientific and collaborative success. Access the chapter >>exit disclaimer

Hall K.L., Vogel A.L., Crowston K. (2019) Comprehensive collaboration plans: Practical considerations spanning across individual collaborators to institutional supports. In: Hall K., Vogel A., Croyle R. (eds) Strategies for team science success. Springer, Cham. disclaimer

Webinars on climate change, behavior change, and health are now available

BRP Program Director Dr. Kara Hall, Branch Chief Dr. Susan Czajkowski, and BRP fellow Dr. Pat Boyd are involved in a Society of Behavioral Medicine work group on Climate Change, Behavior Change, and Health, co-chaired by Dr. Hall and Dr. Michael Diefenbach. The recordings from two webinars organized as part of this initiative are now available.

Awards and Recognitions

Congratulations to Dr. Paige Green and Dr. Rachel Grana Mayne who received NIH Director’s Awards and congratulations to Dr. Susan Czajkowski, Dr. Rick Moser, and Dr. Carolyn Reyes-Guzman who received NCI Director’s Awards.

NCI Awards Administrative Supplements to Advance Cancer Control Efforts

In FY2020, DCCPS supported NCI-designated P30 Cancer Centers in developing new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. Ninety-six administrative supplements were provided to Cancer Centers to expanded their capacity to conduct research, plan strategy, facilitate professional collaborations, and implement efforts to improve health in several research areas, including cancer and aging, community outreach and engagement, financial hardship, HPV vaccination uptake, the National Childhood Cancer Registry, cannabis use among cancer patients, and tobacco cessation treatment for cancer patients. Learn more about the Administrative Supplements >>


December 31 – Deadline to Apply for the Multilevel Intervention Training Institute

NCI’s Multilevel Intervention Training Institute (MLTI) is a training program designed to provide participants with critical skills in designing, conducting, evaluating, and reporting multilevel intervention research across the cancer control continuum. MLTI is designed for investigators at any career stage who seek to conduct multilevel intervention research. To be eligible, participants must NOT be the principal investigator of an R01, or R01-equivalent grant that conducted multilevel intervention research within the past five years. The four-month program will include web-based lectures and conference call-based small group sessions from February to June, 2021. Learn more and apply by December 31 >>

January 14 - Cancer and Aging: Microenvironmental Impact on Oncogenesis and Immunity Webinar

In this webinar, two experts will describe the evolutionary perspective to address cancer and aging questions, and the role of the aging immune system in response to immune therapy in cancer. This event is part of the Perspectives on Cancer and Aging: The Arti Hurria Memorial Webinar Series. Register for the webinar >>exit disclaimer

January 15 – New Application Deadline for NCI’s iCURE Program

The deadline for NCI’s Intramural Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (iCURE) program has been extended until January 15, 2021. iCURE provides mentored research experiences and professional development activities for qualified students and scientists on the NCI campuses in Bethesda, Rockville and Frederick, MD. The program helps support the career progress of its scholars toward research independence while fostering diversity in the biomedical research pipeline. Learn more and apply >>

March - Exploration of the Intersection between Cancer, Obesity, and Disparities Webinar Series

This four-part webinar series will help enhance understanding of the intersection of cancer, obesity and disparities within racially-ethnically diverse populations. The first webinar will provide an overview of the intersection between cancer, obesity and disparities framed around a central question, “Why are obese individuals from underserved, racial/ethnically diverse backgrounds at high-risk for cancer?” A variety of perspectives from various contributing factors, such as biology, diet, culture, environment/food insecurity, and structural issues, will be presented. The next three webinars will address the intersectionality from each of the following research areas: basic/translational science, clinical, and population/community-based/behavioral. Register for the webinars >>

Last Updated
May 12, 2022