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This group is organized for the express purpose of developing and pursuing a collaborative and complementary program of research exploring cancer disparities as they are experienced in rural areas. The research is intended to be grounded in the patient perspective and experience, and can encompass aspects of cancer risk, prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and care. The cancer experience is also considered to include all those impacted, such as caregivers, family and friends, payers and providers. Consideration of rural cancer through an equity lens will ensure that existing disparities are not further exacerbated, but examined in this context.

Community Advisory Board

Board membership in progress. Please check back soon for updates. 

i. Engaging rural lesbian, transgender, and bisexual individuals in cervical cancer screening (E-Resilience); Simmons Cancer Institute – Team Science Grant (1 Jul 2023-30 Jun 2025)

Currently in development. Please check back soon for updates. 

i. Engaging rural lesbian, transgender, and bisexual individuals in cervical cancer screening (E-Resilience) – R15 to NIH NCI Feb 2023

ii. MJL HPV vaccination R15

i. Cancer Screening Outreach to Rural People who use Drugs (CaSORP) – R21 to NCI in 2022

People who use drugs (PWUD) frequently experience stigma in healthcare venues – to the point that many no longer seek routine primary care but only attend urgent/emergency care when in need. Our preliminary data show that rates of preventive cancer screening, already lower in rural (versus urban) area, is even lower among rural PWUD. We’re interested in exploring how a community-based harm reduction provider may collaborate with a healthcare system and peer navigators to better engage rural PWUD in routine care to increase screening utilization.

i. Adaptation of Robotic Colon and Rectal Surgery: Assessment of Clinical and Financial Outcomes; Memorial Medical Center Foundation (7/1/19-9/30/20)
ii. Addressing Rural Cancer Disparities Health Disparities: An SCC-SIUSM Partnership; NIH/NCI (9/1/15-8/31/18; 1P20CA192987-[01A1-03]) 
iii. Illinois Department of Public Health); Illinois Comprehensive Cancer Control State Cancer Plan; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1/1/16-12/31/16; #73204001E and #63204001D)
iv. Exploration of Genomic Diversity across Rural Illinois Communities; Southern Illinois University School of Medicine/University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign (8/1/15-7/31/16)
v. Addressing Rural Cancer Disparities: Understanding Smokeless Tobacco Use in Rural Illinois; Illinois Department of Public Health (3/14-3/15)
vi. Geospatial Analysis of Potential Environmental Causes of Cancer in Illinois; Caryl Towsley Moy, PhD, Endowed Fund for Collaborative Research (3/1/14-12/31/14; MEF #2014-2)
vii. Proposal to Characterize Cancer Patient and Family Literacy; Memorial Medical Center Foundation (3/13-4/14) 
viii. Collaboration to Reduce Lung Cancer Disparities in the Southern IL Delta Region; American Cancer Society – Illinois Division (2/12-1/14)

Community Engagement

In development. Please check back soon for updates.



- Zahnd WE, James AS, Jenkins WD, Izadi SR, Fogleman AJ, Steward DE, Colditz DA, Brard L. Rural-Urban Differences in Cancer Incidence and Trends in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 Jul 27. pii: cebp.0430.2017.
- Jenkins WD*, Rose J, Molina Y, Lee M, Bolinski R, Luckey G, Van Ham B. Cancer Screening among Rural People Who Use Drugs: Colliding Risks and Barriers. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Apr 10;19(8):4555. 

- Lee M, Jenkins WD, Adjei Boakye E. Cancer screening utilization by residence and sexual orientation. Cancer Causes Control. 2020 Oct;31(10):951-964.

Recent Publications (Past 1-2 years)

- Lee M, Mueller-Luckey G, Molina Y, Rose J, Bolinski R, Van Ham B, Adjei Boakye E, Jenkins WD*. Rural cancer and the opioid epidemic: are screening disparities further exacerbated? Health Behavior and Policy Review. 2022 Sep;9(5):1037.

- Lee M, Salloum RG, Jenkins W, Hales DB, Sharma A. Marijuana use among US adults with cancer: findings from the 2018-2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System [published online ahead of print, 2022 Apr 9]. J Cancer Surviv. 2022;10.1007/s11764-021-01138-z.

For a full list of publications, click here.

In development. Please check back soon for updates.

In development. Please check back soon for updates.

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