DCCPS International Activities

September 2015

In This Issue

Ongoing Global Health Projects

Global Health Research and Training Initiatives

Noteworthy Reports

Meeting Reports

Mark Parascandola, PhD, MPH
DCCPS International Research Coordinator

Ongoing Global Health Projects

Palliative Care in Kazakhstan
In June 2015, Julia Rowland, Lynne Padgett, and colleagues from the Division of Cancer Prevention met with a delegation of physicians from Kazakhstan who were seeking information on how to build a national palliative care program. Coordinated by NCI’s Center for Global Health (CGH) staff members Sophia Michaelson, Senior Advisor for CIS countries, and Elisabeth Dupont, delegation members to this meeting included Dilyara Kaidarova, Correspondent Member of the National Academy of Sciences, and Director, Almaty Oncology Centre; Gulnara Kunirova, Executive Director, Together Against Cancer Foundation, and President, Kazakhstan Palliative Care Association; and Dr. Mukhtar Essenzhanovich Tuleutayev, Head of the Astana Cancer Centre. The visitors talked about current hospice care structure and initiatives in Kazakhstan and the key challenges to development of palliative care programs and services nationally. NCI staff provided information about a broad range of resources including training and educational materials, assessment tools, and links to sources for current standards for such care to help with their planning processes.  This visit represented the first step of a new CGH program aiming to develop palliative care in Eastern Europe and in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. It will be followed by a special session on palliative care at the time of the cancer leadership forum that will be organized by CGH in Tashkent in October 2015 and, probably, by a palliative care workshop in Minsk in June 2016.

Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub Presentation for Chief Medical Officers of the Caribbean region
On June 23, 2015, Damali Martin presented plans for the development and implementation of the Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub to a committee of chief medical officers representing Caribbean nations. Dr. Martin provided background on the activities leading to the current status of the hub, spoke about the 2014 Cancer Surveillance meeting and its recommendations, provided information regarding the governance of the hub, gave a timeline of events for the hub, and described potential benefits for the Caribbean region. Dr. Martin’s co-presenters were Glennis Andall-Brereton of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and Les Mery of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub is a project of IARC’s Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development.

TCRB Launches International and Global Health Activities Website
In May 2015, the Tobacco Control Research Branch launched a website titled DCCPS International and Global Health Activities: About TCRB International Tobacco Control Research. The site highlights the division’s international and global tobacco control activities and also provides a current overview of the tobacco control environment globally, as well as TCRB’s role in it. Visitors can view selected recent tobacco control-related publications and resources as well as learn more about the branch’s current international grant funding. 

SmokefreeTXT Mexico Pilot Begins in Veracruz State
SmokefreeTXT, a component of the Smokefree.gov Initiative, has expanded beyond its domestic text message-based smoking cessation intervention. The SmokefreeTXT Mexico project is a study that examines the effectiveness of adapting successful domestic mHealth programs to other countries. Using content from SmokefreeTXT’s Spanish message library, the SmokefreeTXT Mexico message library was modified culturally and linguistically to better apply to the needs of the people of Veracruz state. Considering that in Mexico there is no institutionalized service support for smoking cessation, and the use of mobile technologies for health is still emerging, a successful implementation of SmokefreeTXT could prove to be a cost-effective and efficient means of improving health outcomes in other countries facing similar health threats.

Multinational Time Use Survey – MET Score Linkage Project
In July 2015, David Berrigan hosted a seminar by Jonathan Gershuny and Teresa Harms titled “Problems and opportunities in the use of diaries for a balanced view of the sources of human energy expenditure throughout the day.” Dr. Gershuny is a professor of economic sociology in the Oxford Sociology Department and a senior research fellow at Nuffield College UK. He is the director of the Centre for Time Use Research Exit Disclaimer. Dr. Harms is a research fellow at the center. Together they are working on a contract with NCI for pilot work linking time use behavior categories from the Multinational Time Use Study Exit Disclaimer (MTUS)) to Metabolic Equivalence (MET) scores. The study includes more than 60 data sets from 25 countries and spans four decades. Linkage of MET scores to all or part of the MTUS could result in a valuable resource for studying international and decadal variation in energy expenditure and its consequences. Dr. Berrigan is the program officer for this project.

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Global Health Research and Training Initiatives

Latin America Cancer Control Leadership Forum
The Latin American Cancer Control Leadership Forum took place in Cancun, Mexico, September 1-3, 2015. The Forum convened teams comprising government, civil society, private sector, and academic representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay for a structured, outcomes-focused workshop. Participants learned about important aspects of cancer control planning and work on developing, enhancing or implementing their respective national cancer control plans. Cynthia Vinson of the Implementation Science Team worked with others from NCI’s Center for Global Health to help initiate or enhance cancer control planning efforts in order to decrease the global burden of cancer.

NCI-USAID Implementation Science Masters Course Exit Disclaimer
The US Agency for International Development (USAID), US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and NCI have partnered to offer a Masters Course targeted at investigators from low- and middle-income countries in South East Asia working on health needs at the intersection of infectious diseases and non-communicable disease research. This course is designed to provide an introduction to the field of implementation science, and lay the groundwork for developing implementation science research proposals. Cynthia Vinson and Sarah Bruce Bernal of the Implementation Science Team are joined by NCI’s Center for Global Health and USAID staff in developing this distance-learning course that incorporated six webinars, online course work, and culminated in a 2 ½-day in-person training in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Noteworthy Reports

WHO Releases Advisory Note on Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking
The World Health Organization released an Advisory Note (2nd Edition) on Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: health effects, research needs and recommended actions for regulators. Mirjana Djordjevic of the Tobacco Control Research Branch is a member of the authoring study group. The report reviews evidence and concludes that waterpipe tobacco smoking causes diseases commonly associated with cigarette smoking, including addiction. It also recommends a coordinated approach to address distinct areas for future research related to waterpipe tobacco smoking.

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Meeting Reports

2015 World Congress of Psycho-Oncology
For this past summer’s joint World Congress of Psycho-Oncology Exit DisclaimerFrom National to Global: Implementing the Standard of Psychosocial Care in Oncology – in Washington, DC, Julia Rowland served on the planning committee, chaired two symposia and was a discussant for one, presented a talk on “Securing funding for your research” as part of an educational session for junior/early-stage investigators, and served as an expert consultant during one of the luncheons.

International Conference on Shared Decision Making
Sarah Kobrin attended the International Conference on Shared Decision Making, Exit Disclaimer which was held at the University of Sydney, Australia, July 18-22, 2015, and combined with an annual conference on Evidence Based Practice. The meeting was attended by approximately 300 delegates from at least 25 countries. Dr. Kobrin gave a talk on Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) data regarding shared decision making for several cancer screening behaviors and also met with conference organizers to discuss future conference agendas and locations, including the possibility of next holding the meeting in the US. Future collaboration with Australian scientists on data comparisons is planned as follow-up to this meeting.

Controlling Cancer Summit
Mukesh Verma gave a talk titled “EWAS and GWAS go together in cancer control” at the 2015 Cancer Control Summit, which was held May 12-14, 2015, in London, UK. Sponsored by European Science Conferences (EuroSciCon), the annual event brings together clinicians, academics, and members of the pharmaceutical industry to explore current research and thinking regarding cancer screening, prevention, and treatment. Dr. Verma serves on the Advisory Committee for the meeting and is involved in organizing the 2016 Summit, at which he will also be a speaker.

International Cancer Screening Network
Pamela Marcus, Paul Doria-Rose, Erica Breslau, Steve Taplin, and Cynthia Vinson attended the International Cancer Screening Network (ICSN) meeting June 2-4, 2015. The meeting was held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and was cosponsored by NCI and Erasmus Medical Center, Department of Public Health. The meeting focused on collaborative research aimed at identifying and fostering efficient and effective approaches to cancer control through population-based screening. The ICSN is a voluntary consortium of researchers from more than 30 countries that have or are establishing active population-based cancer screening programs. Dr. Marcus gave a presentation on precision cancer screening and co-led a workshop organized by NCI’s Center for Global Health on implementation science research for cancer screening for low- and middle-income countries.

9th International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods (ICDAM)
Amy Subar and Susan Krebs-Smith attended the 9th International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods (ICDAM) in Brisbane, Australia, September 1-3, 2015. ICDAM is the only international conference solely devoted to improving methods and measures for both diet and physical activity. Drs. Krebs-Smith and Subar led and presented in symposia on Advancing Dietary Patterns Research: Levels, Layers, and Lifecourse and Open Access to High Quality Methods in Diet and Activity. They also gave invited presentations on New Technologies for Improving Dietary Intake Measurement and Diet Quality Indexes. At a preconference workshop in Newcastle, Australia, “Using technology to measure diet and physical activity,” Dr. Subar spoke about new developments in technology applications of ASA24, a web-based tool that enables multiple automated self-administered 24-hour dietary recalls.

International Network for Food and Obesity / Non-communicable Diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS) Meeting
Susan Krebs-Smith attended a meeting of the INFORMAS network in Brisbane, Australia, August 31-September 1, 2015. INFORMAS is an international group committed to monitoring, benchmarking, and supporting actions to create healthy food environments, with the goal of reducing obesity and other diet-related non-communicable diseases worldwide. While there, Dr. Krebs-Smith updated the network on a multi-country analysis of food supplies from several countries around the world.

Improving Chronic Disease in the Caribbean through Evidence-based Behavioral and Social Interventions
Damali Martin and Mark Parascandola presented at a workshop sponsored by NCI’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and Center for Global Health, which was held in Bridgetown, Barbados, July 21-24, 2015. The workshop encouraged the generation of research to more rapidly accelerate chronic disease prevention and management and highlighted the importance of culturally appropriate intervention design and implementation. Dr. Martin spoke about the need to address cancer control through cancer surveillance and the importance of using data collected through surveillance for research to inform cancer control programs and policies relevant to the Caribbean. Dr. Parascandola led discussion groups on evidence-based interventions for reducing tobacco and alcohol use in the Caribbean. He also participated in panels on NIH funding for behavioral research.

Survey Methods Discussion in Guam
Richard Moser traveled to the University of Guam in Mangilao, Guam, to discuss survey methods and share insight on the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) in July 2015. While there, he also worked on two pilot projects with College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Associate Professor Lilnabeth Somera. These projects are titled “Health information trends and needs in the Pacific: a test of the respondent-driven sampling method” and “Health information patterns among pacific youth” and are funded by U54 grants. The studies compare local and national data, and the project’s ultimate goal is to produce more studies on health information patterns in Guam. Dr. Moser also took part in Guam’s monthly Non-Communicable Disease Consortium. He presented on national surveillance data and learned about local public health efforts.

WHO Regional Meeting Held in India
Members from the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia Region countries convened July 27-28 in Mumbai, India, to discuss smokeless tobacco. The event was titled “Smokeless tobacco and public health,” and the group met at Tata Memorial Centre.  Mark Parascandola participated as a speaker and invited faculty member.  The 11 countries in the region have more than 290 million smokeless tobacco users, and the incidence of mouth cancer, especially among the younger generation, is increasing. This meeting convened multiple experts to identify policy and research gaps and to propose key strategies to curb use of smokeless tobacco in the region.

NCI presents at Medical Image Perception Conference
Todd Horowitz spent June 2-5, 2015, in Ghent, Belgium, at the 15th Medical Image Perception Conference.Exit Disclaimer Dr. Horowitz presented findings from his paper titled “Searching for the prevalence effect” at the third session, which covered new insights into medical image perception from the vision science perspective.

European Conference on Visual Perception
Todd Horowitz attended the 38th European Conference on Visual Perception Exit Disclaimer held Aug. 23-27, 2015, in Liverpool, England.  Dr. Horowitz chaired a session on attention and presented his findings from his paper titled “Very large memory sets in hybrid search: Can the log still save us?”

International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Conference
Linda Nebeling, Tanya Agurs-Collins, April Oh, Laura Dwyer, Britni Belcher, and Shelley Bluethmann, attended the 14th International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity conference, June 3-6, 2015, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The conference integrates an international perspective on how nutrition and physical activity behaviors at the individual, community, and policy levels can have an impact on risk for chronic disease and cancer. A key aspect of the conference is the focus on behavioral science and health-related policy. The conference provides a forum to stimulate, promote, and advocate for innovative research in the area of nutrition and physical activity. NCI interests in these health behaviors are informed by the experience and research outcomes from other countries.

Dr. Agurs-Collins presented a paper titled “Dietary intake and compliance with nutrition guidelines among cancer survivors.”  The Behavioral Research Program and the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program collaborated on the research. Dr. Dwyer presented a poster titled “Family meals and adolescent fruit and vegetable intake in a United States national survey: identifying correlates and examining the role of value for family meals and parenting practices.” April Oh, Erin Hennessy, and Linda Nebeling coauthored the poster. Dr. Bluethmann participated in the Cancer Special Interest Group and has accepted a postdoctoral liaison role with the group. Dr. Belcher presented a poster titled “Interrupting sedentary time improves short-term metabolic function in healthy 7-11 year old children,” in the nutrition and social and built environment session.

BRP Associate Director Meets with Cancer Researchers, Professors in England, France
Bill Klein traveled from June 15 to July 1, 2015, to Paris, France, and London, Cambridge, and Sussex, England, for a series of meetings and presentations. Dr. Klein started his trip at the University of Paris where he gave a presentation on cancer risk communication to a group of faculty and students. He also met individually with faculty and staff to learn more about their research. He spent the next few days at the French National Cancer Institute. While there, Dr. Klein met with tobacco control, survivorship, and risk communication researchers, explored opportunities for collaboration, presented the Behavioral Research Program’s research priorities, and gave feedback on the institute’s new national cancer plan. On June 19, Dr. Klein presented to students and faculty from the West Paris University Nanterre La Defense, a prestigious university just west of Paris.

In London, Dr. Klein presented cancer control research to a group of faculty and staff from the University of College London. He discussed outcomes of the Awareness and Beliefs about Cancer (ABC) survey with psychology professor and project collaborator Jane Wardle. He also met individually with faculty and staff from the university. Dr. Klein spent June 23 to 25 meeting with scientists from Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent cancer research charity. He also attended an international advisory board meeting. Dr. Klein then traveled to the University of Cambridge to present on joint NCI/National Human Genome Research Institute ClinSeq projects. On June 29, Dr. Klein went to the University of Sussex in southern England, to meet with psychology professor Peter Harris. The two discussed CRUK activities as well as the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) and analyses. While in Sussex, Dr. Klein gave a research presentation on risk communication and met with faculty and students about cancer control projects. On July 1, Dr. Klein returned to the University of College London to meet with psychology professors Susan Michie and Robert West to discuss health behavior theory workgroup activities. He also met individually with faculty and students. 

European Congress on Obesity Held in Czech Republic
Linda Nebeling presented a poster at the 22nd European Congress on Obesity, Exit Disclaimer held May 6-9, 2015, in Prague, Czech Republic. The poster was titled “A dyadic focus on obesity preventive health behaviors: opportunities for novel research” and was part of the seventh session on public health and prevention.

Communication, Medicine, and Ethics Conference held in Hong Kong
Wen-ying “Sylvia” Chou presented at the 13th International Conference on Communication, Medicine, and Ethics (COMET), held June 25-27, 2015, at the University of Hong Kong. The meeting brought together scholars from many different disciplinary backgrounds involving various health care specialties and social sciences. More than 20 countries were represented. In addition to participating in the sessions and interacting with international scholars, Dr. Chou co-presented a talk titled “Discussing prognosis: toward a multidisciplinary approach to improving palliative care communication.” She also presented a poster on NCI’s health literacy portfolio.

Please visit the DCCPS website for information on funding opportunities and history and trends in international and global health research. Archives of past issues of this newsletter are also available online