Spring 2022 Newsletter

Bill's Foreword


Dear Colleagues,

William Klein

It has been more than two years since the start of the pandemic. For many of us, our professional and personal lives continue to evolve as we navigate work-life balance, the uncertainties of travel and return-to-office policies, and of course, the concern for the safety and well-being of our families, colleagues, and the public. NCI offers support to help the research community. The NCI COVID-19 Information for Cancer Researchers website and the NIH Nexus blog post, Reminder of COVID-19-Related Flexibilities for NIH Grants, are two excellent resources to help answer pandemic-related questions involving your research.

The pandemic has highlighted some of the fragilities of our healthcare system and completely upended cancer screening and treatment for millions of people, likely resulting in thousands of excess cancer-related deaths in the coming years. It is through this lens that the President’s Cancer Panel developed its report, Closing Gaps in Cancer Screening: Connecting People, Communities, and Systems. After a year of stakeholder meetings, the panel chose to spotlight cancer screening as the anchor by which the National Cancer Program can make a significant impact in saving lives and reducing the burden of cancer. In early February, President Biden unveiled plans to reinvigorate the Cancer MoonshotSM with a White House commitment to “end cancer as we know it today.” The Biden-Harris Administration has set ambitious goals to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer. The timing for this announcement is auspicious given the sunsetting of the current Cancer Moonshot in 2023. Now that the President has signed the FY2022 Omnibus bill, NCI will receive a $353M (5.4%) increase and Cancer Moonshot funding of $194M. The allocation also includes $50M for the third year of the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative. The budget increase has allowed us to increase the pay lines for FY22, to 11th percentile for conventional R01s and 16th percentile for Early Stage Investigator R01s. You can find the details of the NCI FY2022 full-year funding policies on the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) website.

In this issue we congratulate several of our grantees and staff who have received prestigious awards for their scientific contributions to their fields, including Dr. Geoffrey Fong, Dr. Susan Lutgendorf, Dr. Anil Sood, Dr. Susan Czajkowski, and Dr. Pebbles Fagan. We commemorate the NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship’s 25th Anniversary milestone with a report that highlights the history of the office and advances in the survivorship field. You’ll see several health disparities-related funding opportunities on research related to COVID-19 testing, vaccine hesitancy, addressing cancer-related misinformation, and patient-clinician relationships. An NCI Cancer Currents blog features a story on the Navajo Nation’s groundbreaking passage of a comprehensive ban on commercial tobacco products – the Air is Life Act of 2021. We also feature resources to assist your research efforts: the Patterns of Care Explorer tool; a visualization tool for the catchment areas of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers; and a new website created with implementation scientists in mind.

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

All the best,
Bill Klein
Associate Director

Funding Opportunities and Notices

Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) for Research Relevant to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (U54 Clinical Trial Optional)
NCI Contact: Dr. Rachel Grana Mayne
Posted: March 8, 2022
Due Date: July 14, 2022
Expires: July 15, 2022

Cancer Control Research in Persistent Poverty Areas (U54 Clinical Trial Optional)
NCI Contact: Dr. Shobha Srinivasan
Posted: March 8, 2022
Due Date: July 6, 2022
Expires: July 7, 2022

Emergency Awards: Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) - Social, Ethical, and Behavioral Implications (SEBI) Research on Disparities in COVID-19 Testing among Underserved and Vulnerable Populations (U01 Clinical Trial Optional)
NCI Contact: Dr. Sylvia Chou
Posted: February 17, 2022
Due Date: May 2, 2022
Expires: May 3, 2022

Emergency Award: RADx-UP Community-Engaged Research on Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Testing among Underserved and Vulnerable Populations (U01 Clinical Trial Optional)
NCI Contact: Dr. April Oh
Due Date: May 2, 2022
Expires: May 3, 2022

Center for Rapid Surveillance of Tobacco (CRST) to Assess Changes in Use Behaviors, Product Marketing, and the Marketplace (U01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
NCI Contact: Dr. Maria Roditis
Posted: December 16, 2021
Due Date: May 18, 2022
Expires: May 19, 2022

Risk and Protective Factors of Family Health and Family Level Interventions (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
NCI Contact: Dr. Rebecca Ferrer and Dr. Anil Wali
Posted: December 13, 2021
First Available Due Date: June 5, 2022
Expires: May 8, 2025

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Research to Address Vaccine Hesitancy, Uptake, and Implementation among Populations that Experience Health Disparities
NCI Contact: Dr. Robin Vanderpool
Posted: December 21, 2021
First Available Due Date: February 5, 2022
Expires: January 8, 2023

Notice of NCI Participation in RFA-MD-22-008, "Understanding and Addressing Misinformation among Populations that Experience Health Disparities (R01 - Clinical Trials Optional)"
NCI Contact: Dr. Sylvia Chou
Posted: March 25, 2022
PAR Expiration: November 14, 2022

Notice of NCI Participation in PAR-22-064, "Patient-Clinician Relationship: Improving Health Outcomes in Populations that Experience Health Care Disparities (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)"
NCI Contact: Dr. Amanda AcevedoDr. Sallie Weaver, and Ms. Diane St. Germain
Posted: February 3, 2022
PAR Expiration: January 8, 2025

In the News

President’s Cancer Panel Report on cancer screening

From 2020–2021, the President’s Cancer Panel sought to investigate and identify opportunities to address gaps in cancer screening. To this end, the panel convened a series of meetings on cancer screening, gleaning insights from noted experts in the fields of breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung cancers. The resulting White House report – Closing Gaps in Cancer Screening: Connecting People, Communities, and Systems to Improve Equity and Access – describes the President’s vision to build on the success of the Cancer MoonshotSM and presents goals and recommendations to reduce the death rate of cancer through effective and equitable implementation of cancer screening. The panel identifies four critical goals to connect people, communities, and systems to improve access to appropriate cancer screening in the United States. These goals include 1) improving and aligning communications about cancer screening, 2) facilitating equitable access to screening services through community outreach and expanded self-sampling, 3) strengthening workforce collaborations to support cancer screening and risk assessment, including genetic risk assessment, and 4) building health IT tools that promote appropriate cancer screening and aid in clinical decision-making. Read the full report.

NIH awards $170 million for precision nutrition study

NIH awarded $170 million over five years, pending the availability of funds, to clinics and centers across the country for a new study, The Nutrition for Precision Health powered by the All of Us Research Program. This initiative will build on recent advances in biomedical science including artificial intelligence, microbiome research, as well as the infrastructure and large, diverse participant group of the All of Us Research Program to generate new data and develop algorithms to predict individual responses to food and dietary routines. The initiative complements ongoing nutrition research efforts across NIH and implements components of the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research. The data will be integrated into the All of Us Researcher Workbench and made widely available to allow researchers to make discoveries that could improve health and prevent or treat diseases and conditions affected by nutrition. Read the NIH press release. Watch an overview video.

NCI Cancer Currents Blog features several BRP topics

FDA Oversight of E-Cigarettes Gathers Speed: A Conversation with Mitch Zeller

Companies that want to market e-cigarettes in the United States must now submit applications to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In this interview, Mitch Zeller, director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, provides insights into FDA actions on e-cigarettes.

Air is Life: The Navajo Nation’s Historic Commercial Tobacco Ban

With the passage of the Air is Life Act of 2021, the Navajo Nation becomes the first American Indian tribe to enact a comprehensive ban on commercial tobacco products. Funding under NCI’s State and Community Tobacco Control initiative assisted in generating data and collaborations that were leveraged by advocates within the Navajo Nation to inform this policy.

Staffing News 

BRP welcomes Catherine Pichardo, Ph.D.

Catherine M. Pichardo, Ph.D., is a Cancer Research Training Award fellow in the Health Behaviors Research Branch. Dr. Pichardo's research focuses on understanding the role of individual, interpersonal, and structural determinants of cancer-related disparities. Topics of interest include the influence of adverse environments on racial/ethnic minority health and health inequities. Read her bio.

Scientific Advances

Career and Training Opportunities

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Equity and Basic Behavioral and Psychological Sciences Research

The Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch (BBPSB) supports research fundamental to understanding human behaviors, social context, decision-making, and clinical practices associated with cancer etiology, prevention, screening, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. Candidates trained in health equity research with a biopsychosocial background are encouraged to apply. Competitive candidates will demonstrate knowledge or interest in using their training to cultivate a health equity and cancer-relevant basic behavioral and psychological sciences research portfolio. Read the position description.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Behaviors Research

As a member of the Health Behaviors Research Branch, the fellow will work collaboratively on various projects to address cancer-related behaviors (e.g., diet and nutrition, physical activity, sleep, alcohol, medication adherence) and associated factors (e.g., genetics, family, environment, culture, policy) to advance behavioral and social science for cancer prevention and control. The program seeks candidates with a Ph.D. or equivalent degree (or highly qualified Ph.D. candidates) with a strong interest in interdisciplinary behavioral and social science research in cancer prevention and control, particularly in behavioral interventions and clinical trials, multilevel and policy research, implementation and health sciences research, and/or cross-disciplinary areas of behavioral science. Read the position description.


Consortium for Cancer Implementation Science website now available

The Consortium for Cancer Implementation Science (CCIS) focuses on cancer control priorities, cross-collaboration, and innovative solutions in implementation science. The new CCIS website offers resources, webinars, and articles related to cancer control and implementation science. The site also provides tools to help advance engagement, policy, and more in the implementation science field, and lists funding opportunities for those contributing public goods to support implementation science across the cancer control continuum. View the new CCIS website.

New Patterns of Care Explorer Tool

Patterns of Care (POC) is an initiative to evaluate dissemination of state-of-the-art cancer therapy and diagnostics into community oncology practice and identify factors associated with cancer care. The recently released POC*Explorer is an online tool that provides free public access to aggregate data from select NCI POC Studies, including insurance coverage, clinical trial participation, systemic therapy use, and tumor mutation testing.  The initial version of POC*Explorer presents both unweighted counts and weighted (to the overall SEER population) percentages from the 2010 and 2015 POC colorectal cancer study populations. This online resource will expand over time based on user interest and feedback. Access POC*Explorer.

New Catchment Areas of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers Visualization Tool

The Catchment Areas of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers Visualization Tool is a web-based application for the geographically defined catchment areas of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, providing a geographic scope for monitoring cancer trends, identifying pronounced socioeconomic- and health-related disparities, informing high-impact translational science, and guiding the implementation of evidence-based interventions in clinical and community settings. Access the visualization tool.

NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship 25th anniversary report

The NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship was created in 1996 in recognition of the growing number of cancer survivors and their unique needs. The office serves a critical role in supporting cancer survivorship research, maintaining the visibility of cancer survivorship, and leading survivorship collaborations among NCI, NIH, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the broader research community. This 25th anniversary report shares the history of the creation of the office, identifies milestones since that time, illustrates the growth of the NCI cancer survivorship research portfolio, describes important resources and tools in the field, notes invaluable collaborations and partnerships, and highlights future directions for cancer survivorship research. Read the report.

New CDC Tips From Former Smokers® Campaign promotes National Texting Portal among its smoking cessation resources

Now in its tenth year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched its Tips From Former Smokers® Campaign with new radio and TV ads to encourage people who smoke to quit. In addition to promoting the 1-800-QUIT-NOW telephone-based counseling service, the campaign promotes the new National Texting Portal, designed to connect adults with text message-based support to help them quit smoking. Available in English and Spanish, the portal was developed in collaboration with NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch. Learn more about the campaign. Learn more about the National Texting Portal.

Awards and Recognitions

BRP grantee Dr. Geoffrey Fong, professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Waterloo (Canada), has been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest honors. The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement and service to the nation. Dr. Fong received this honor “for his research into improved risk messaging on tobacco products, and for his role in reducing the global tobacco epidemic.” Dr. Fong is the principal investigator of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project, which evaluates the impact of population-level tobacco control policies.


BRP grantee Dr. Susan Lutgendorf, professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at University of Iowa and core member of the NCI Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Lutgendorf was selected “for distinguished contributions to the field of behavioral science of cancer.” Her research focuses on the effects of biobehavioral risk factors on the tumor microenvironment and how these variables are related to cancer progression and survival. 


Former BRP grantee Dr. Anil K. Sood, professor of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center and core member of the NCI Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer, was elected to the National Academy of Medicine “for discovering the mechanistic basis of chronic stress on cancer and the pivotal role of tumor-IL6 in causing paraneoplastic thrombocytosis; developing the first RNAi therapeutics and translating multiple new drugs from lab to clinic; and devising and implementing a paradigm shifting surgical algorithm for advanced ovarian cancer, dramatically increasing complete resection rates.”


BRP Branch Chief Dr. Susan Czajkowski was named the inaugural recipient of the Robert T. Croyle Behavioral Medicine Service Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM). This award recognizes outstanding service to SBM and the broader field of behavioral medicine through non-traditional (e.g., government, industry) pathways. Dr. Czajkowski was presented this award by SBM's President during the Presidential Keynote and Awards ceremony at SBM's 2022 Annual Meeting & Scientific sessions. 


Former TCRB Program Director Dr. Pebbles Fagan was announced as the recipient of the 2022 Society of Research on Nicotine and Tobacco President’s Award in recognition of her decades of scientific excellence and efforts to combat health inequities related to nicotine and tobacco use. Dr. Fagan was the headline speaker at the President’s Symposium in March.


February through June 2022 — Telehealth and Cancer Webinar Series

This five-part series seeks to identify emergent research gaps and opportunities for the use of telehealth in cancer prevention and control. All webinars are 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET, and webinar recordings are archived on the websiteRegister.

February 25 – Introduction to Telehealth and Cancer Webinar Series
March 21 – Patient-Provider Communication and Cancer-Related Telehealth
April 26 – Telehealth Models of Cancer Care Delivery
May 19 – Telehealth Research to Address Cancer Health Disparities
June 21 – Overview of NCI’s Telehealth Research Centers of Excellence (TRACE)

January through May 2022 — Cancer Caregiving Webinar Series

In this five-part webinar series, NCI-funded grantees describe their accomplishments, challenges, and future directions in cancer caregiving research. Each session will have dedicated presentations from each of the funded grantees. The series concludes in May with an NCI-led discussion of themes among the funded grants and key opportunities for future research to support cancer caregiving. All webinars are 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET, and webinar recordings are archived on the websiteRegister.

January 18, February 23, March 17, April 19, May 18

April 6-9, 2022 — Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Annual Meeting

Many BRP staff and fellows will attend and present at SBM’s 2022 Annual Meeting, participating in symposia, seminars, roundtable discussions, oral and poster presentations, meetings of special interest groups, and more. Reach out to your program director to schedule a meeting. See a full list of BRP staff activities.

April 8-13, 2022 — American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting

BRP staff will give presentations on NCI funding opportunities in clinical trials, cancer and aging research, and obesity and cancer research. See a full list of NCI staff activities.

April 15, 2022 — Pre-Application Webinar for Cancer Control Research in Persistent Poverty Areas (U54 Clinical Trial Optional)

In this webinar, NCI program staff will provide orientation and assistance to potential applicants by explaining the goals, objectives, and requirements of RFA-CA-22-015, and answering questions from webinar attendees. Participation in this webinar is not required for the submission of an application, though interested investigators are encouraged to attend. Registration is required.

April 26, 2022 — Revisiting the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs”

The Office of Cancer Survivorship, in partnership with the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention, hosts this Director’s Series webinar featuring UCLA’s Dr. Patricia Gantz, who will revisit the IOM Report, “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs.” Register.

May 2, 2022 — Preclinical, Clinical, and Biobehavioral Insights into Aging-Related Breast Cancer Survivorship Outcomes

Researchers Dr. Jeanne Mandelblatt from Georgetown University and Dr. Judith Carroll from David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA will present preclinical and clinical cancer and aging insights from the Thinking and Living with Cancer (TLC) Study. They will also discuss biobehavioral modifiers of aging, highlighting the role of sleep as a potential intervention target. This webinar is part of the Perspectives on Cancer and Aging: Arti Hurria Memorial Webinar Series. Register.

July 26-28, 2022 — Pathways to Prevention Workshop: Nutrition as Prevention for Improved Cancer Health Outcomes

The NIH is hosting this free virtual workshop to identify priorities for research on nutritional interventions to prevent cancer-associated malnutrition and improve cancer health outcomes.to discuss the current scientific evidence on how nutritional interventions affect cancer health outcomes. Learn more or register.

Last Updated
April 07, 2022