DCCPS International Activities

January 2019

In This Issue

Ongoing Global Health Projects

Global Health Research and Training Initiatives

Meeting Reports

Mark Parascandola, PhD, MPH
DCCPS International Research Coordinator

Ongoing Global Health Projects

Mark Parascandola to Serve as Acting Chief of the CGH Research and Training Branch
Mark Parascandola will serve as Acting Chief of the Research and Training Branch in NCI’s Center for Global Health (CGH). His interim assignment will support the center’s transition to a new director. CGH develops initiatives and collaborates with other NCI divisions, NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, and countries to support cancer research and cancer research networks, promote cancer control planning, and build capacity in low- and middle-income countries.

Back to top

Global Health Research and Training Initiatives

Stephanie Land to Serve as Director of Tools and Resources for SRNT University
Stephanie Land will serve as Director of Tools and Resources for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) University, due to launch in February 2019. SRNT University is being developed to meet the need for tobacco research resources in countries around the world. It is a collection of organized and curated trainings, scientific articles, tools, and resources for people working in nicotine and tobacco research and related professions. Read SRNT University’s Overview Exit Disclaimer to learn more about the learning opportunities soon to be available.

Back to top

Meeting Reports

The Rule rather than the Exception: Embedding Implementation Research in Population Science and Health Services Research to Promote Effective Translation
The Evidence to Support Prevention Implementation and Translation (ESPRIT) Research Group hosted Cynthia Vinson and other experts for a day-long seminar on November 28, 2018, at University College Cork, Ireland. The purpose of the seminar was to encourage researchers, health professionals, and policy makers to explore implementation questions within their own field of research or health care setting. With a focus on implementation strategies and research methods, the seminar offered practical advice to participants trying to study or implement interventions. It also was an opportunity for researchers, health practitioners, and policy makers to share their knowledge and capacity to enhance implementation research in Ireland.

Scientific Conference of the International Association of Cancer Registries
Several plenary presentations were given by DCCPS staff at the 2018 Scientific Conference of the International Association of Cancer Registries Exit Disclaimer (IACR) held in Arequipa, Peru, on November 12-15, 2019. Angela Mariotto spoke on “Using modeling and cancer registry survival data to estimate recurrence burden,” Gonçalo Forjaz de Lacerda presented “Lung cancer attributable to tobacco consumption in Portugal in 2015,” and two talks were given on collaborative work in the Caribbean: “Supporting the improvement of data availability for cancer control and prevention in the Caribbean (Sarah Crooks, Trinidad and Tobago) and “Standardizing cancer registration in the Caribbean through the IARC Regional Hub” (Betsy Kohler, NAACCR). A pre-conference workshop on Quality of Cancer Registries, organized by the IACR GICR (Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development) international experts Marion Piñeros and Esther de Vries, had over 25 participants, including Brenda Edwards.

International Congress of Behavioral Medicine (ICBM)
Susan Czajkowski chaired and presented in a pre-conference workshop on November 14, 2018, at the 15th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine (ICBM) Exit Disclaimer in Santiago, Chile. In addition to Dr. Czajkowski, the session, titled “Designing innovative behavioral interventions for chronic diseases: the ‘nuts and bolts’ of behavioral treatment development,” included talks by Sylvie Naar from Florida State University, Lynda Powell from Rush University in Chicago, and Ken Freedland from Washington University in St. Louis. Participants heard an overview of the Obesity Related Behavioral Intervention Trials (ORBIT) model for designing and testing behavioral treatments for chronic diseases; learned about appropriate study designs and methods for developing behavioral treatments; and applied the ORBIT model to their own projects. The model was developed through the ORBIT consortium, a cooperative agreement program supporting seven research sites across the US with the goal of translating findings from basic research on human behavior into more effective interventions to alter obesity-related health behaviors. During the ICBM meeting, Dr. Czajkowski and Dr. Freedland also led a midday session on the International Behavioural Trials Network (www.ibtnetwork.org Exit Disclaimer), a network of behavioral medicine researchers and trialists whose mission is to foster global improvement in the quality of behavioral trials and in trial implementation, and to share a repository for existing recommendations, tools, and methodology on behavioral trials and intervention development.

Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases 7th Annual Scientific Meeting
Gary Ellison attended the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) 7th Annual Scientific Meeting Exit Disclaimerin Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 12-16, 2018. The GACD is a collaboration of 14 major international funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, to address chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD) in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) and vulnerable populations in high-income countries. The NCD focus is particularly relevant given the changing landscape of disease in LMICs. Dr. Ellison represented NCI. Representatives from Fogarty International Center, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke also were in attendance. A primary focus of funded projects that make up the current GACD Network is implementation science research in four disease areas: lung diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and mental health. The annual scientific meeting focused on facilitating collaboration across sites, GACD Network infrastructure, and capacity building. In addition, there has been interest among the network to be more attentive to multimorbidity, given that two or more NCDs often coexist. Consequently, sessions revolved around scaling up interventions in low-resource settings, data standardization and sharing across the network and disease domains, and the development of joint publications. Cancer prevention will be the next topic of the joint call for proposals.

International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium (I4C)-Childhood Leukemia International (CLIC)
Somdat Mahabir attended and spoke at the joint and individual I4C-CLIC meetings in Tokyo, Japan, November 12-15, 2018. The I4C is a unique consortium of prospective birth cohort studies and the CLIC is a consortium of case-control studies. On the first day of the meeting, Somdat Mahabir gave a presentation on diet and vitamins focusing on assessment issues, biological samples, and genomics. The presentation was part of the I4C-CLIC interest group. Somdat also participated in a joint presentation focused on prevention and communication. During the meeting, there was also an International Symposium titled “The environment and genetics in pediatric cancers: epidemiological advances through international collaboration.” Somdat helped organize the joint I4C-CLIC meeting and was also a panelist discussing collaborations for childhood cancer etiology research. I4C Exit Disclaimer and CLIC Exit Disclaimer are the only known international collaborative efforts aimed at tackling childhood cancer etiology. Childhood cancer research is currently primarily focused on genetics, treatment, and survivorship issues.

World Congress of Psycho-Oncology and Psychosocial Academy
Paul Jacobsen attended the World Congress of Psycho-Oncology and Psychosocial Academy Exit Disclaimer in Hong Kong, October 29 – November 2, 2018. In addition to attending presentations and participating in committee meetings as an NCI liaison, he met with numerous individuals from a variety of countries engaged in psychosocial, palliative care, and survivorship care research. He delivered an invited plenary lecture on understanding and addressing inequalities in cancer survivorship care and served as an invited faculty member for a training academy designed to train the next generation of psychosocial oncology researchers from low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Jacobsen also provided instruction and consultation in health care delivery, dissemination, and implementation research methodology and served as an invited mentor for early-career professionals in psychosocial oncology.

International Society of Quality of Life Meeting
Sandra Mitchell, Roxanne Jensen, and Ashley Wilder Smith attended the annual research meeting of the International Society of Quality of Life Exit Disclaimer (ISOQOL) in Dublin, Ireland, October 24-27, 2018. Each gave podium and/or poster presentations on several different topics, and held meetings with collaborators and grantees.

Dr. Mitchell gave a podium presentation reporting the results of the study she led to translate and linguistically validate the Patient-Reported Outcomes version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (PRO-CTCAE™) item library in 10 languages (Czech, Russian, Hungarian, Polish, Greek, Canadian-French, European-French, Traditional Chinese, Spanish and German) in 15 countries. She also co-authored two poster presentations, one focused on reporting results from the linguistic validation study of the PRO-CTCAE-Dutch, and another reporting results from a study that used focus group methodology to examine patient and survivor perspectives on sharing patient-generated health data with state cancer registries.

Dr. Smith presented a poster that was based on the MY-Health study and analyzed clinical cutoff scores for patient-reported outcome measures reported by breast cancer patients in a population-based study. Following the ISOQOL meeting, Dr. Smith participated in the PROMIS Health Organization (PHO) meeting, giving a keynote presentation tracing the history of NIH support for the development and use of PROMIS, including describing the key next steps for NIH with respect to the continued development of this measurement system. Dr. Smith also attended several educational sessions during the PHO meeting focused on international metrics for PROMIS and topics related to uptake in clinical settings.

Dr. Jensen participated on the symposium panel “Methods for aiding interpretation of and acting on PRO scores in clinical practice,” where she discussed the value of reporting cancer-specific PRO reference values to patients and providers to enhance the interpretation and utility of patient-reported outcome measures. Dr. Jensen also presented a poster evaluating the 6-month responsiveness of the PROMIS-Preference (PROPr) Utility measure in a cancer population.

Improving Standardization and Data Quality in Caribbean Cancer Registries
DCCPS hosted a 4-day workshop on Improving Standardization and Data Quality in Caribbean Cancer Registries on October 22-25, 2018, that was facilitated through the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) lead Cancer Registries Hub. Managers from 12 cancer registries in Caribbean countries attended. Faculty included DCCPS staff, the NAACCR Executive Director, a SEER PI, and three leaders in the IARC-GICR network of trainers. The focus was on operations, management, coding, and quality appropriate for countries with limited resources. Webinars are planned for 2019 to address technical issues identified by the participants; e.g., the first two scheduled are on SEER analytic tools for global cancer registry data (see https://education.naaccr.org/analytic-tools-webinars Exit Disclaimer).

Ideas on Digital Health Interventions for Cancer Prevention Generated at NCI-CRUK ‘Sandpit’
In late October 2018, the division’s Behavioral Research Program partnered with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) to host a “Sandpit” workshop (i.e., ideas lab). During this intensive residential workshop, which was co-led by Kara Hall, participants formed multidisciplinary teams to generate novel ideas for advancing cancer prevention through the effective implementation of digital health tools. Projects included the following:

  1. E-MUte,” which proposes to develop a valid and reliable algorithm to identify misinformation about e-cigarettes viewed by adult smokers on social media, identify the mechanism of effects of misinformation exposure on behavior, and develop intervention strategies based on these findings.
  2. “Free Time for Wellness (FT4W),” which proposes to improve social cohesion and promote wellness activities through the formation of wellness groups of proximally located low-income mothers using an existing neighborhood-based social networking platform.
  3. “Project OptiMine,” which proposes to use EHR systems to identify high-risk patients who may benefit from cancer prevention interventions and then use digital communication strategies to reach out to them and refer them to evidence-based programs.
  4. “ShopSmarter,” which proposes to utilize a newly developed browser extension that overlays a real-world online shopping website to test whether 1) removing promotions on junk food or 2) removing product packaging images that affect food purchases.

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control 8th Conference of Parties
Mark Parascandola attended the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Exit Disclaimer Eighth Conference of the Parties (COP8) in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the US observer delegation. The WHO FCTC is the first global public health treaty and was developed by countries to reduce global burden of the tobacco epidemic. COP8, held October 1-6, 2018, brought together over 1,200 delegates, including representatives of 148 Parties to the FCTC along with observer delegations, nongovernmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations, to consider technical issues related to FCTC implementation, budgetary and workplan issues, and plenary decisions. Corinne Graffunder, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health, led the delegation, which included experts from NCI, the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, and representatives from the US Mission in Geneva. The US participation at COP8 provided an opportunity to learn more about implementation issues facing Parties, share applicable US experiences, and offer relevant technical resources to country counterparts. Topics discussed relevant to NCI research activities included the impact of cross-border tobacco advertising and promotion on tobacco use, the scientific basis for tobacco product regulation, and the potential public health impact of novel tobacco and nicotine products, such as heated tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery devices.  More information and COP8 documentation is available on the FCTC Secretariat’s website.

12th Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health
Mark Parascandola and Elizabeth Orlan, Cancer Research Training Award fellow,  attended and presented at the 12th Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health (APACT) Exit Disclaimer, September 13-15, 2018, in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. The conference, which was themed “Tobacco control for sustainable development goals: ensuring a healthy generation,” brought together over 1,000 policy makers, researchers, advocates, and practitioners from 23 countries. Dr. Parascandola led a special session titled “Strategies for research and developing policy interventions on betel quid and areca nut (BQ/AN) to prevent oral cancers” and spoke at a session on tuberculosis and tobacco use organized with the Ministry of Health of Indonesia. Elizabeth Orlan gave an oral presentation titled “Attitudes surrounding e-cigarette policies in ASEAN countries’ mainstream media,” and presented an electronic poster from her doctoral program research titled “Characteristics of vape shops in Jakarta, Indonesia.” Read more about the 12th APACT and NCI’s representation at the conference on the CGH Spotlight Blog.

Back to top

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