Sciences: Public Health Nursing

Department: School of Nursing

Supervising Faculty Member: Emma Mitchell

Specialization: Public Health Nursing

Research Focus: Cervical cancer is a cancer of disparities.  Globally, between 70-90% of cervical cancer cases are attributable to high risk strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).  Despite the facts that we can prevent HPV infection through vaccination, and that we can intervene before this slow-growing cancer progresses through screening and early detection, significant morbidity and mortality persist.  My program of research explores: barriers women experience in rural and remote settings to accessing cervical cancer prevention and screening services; innovative technologies to mitigate those barriers, including at-home self-collection of samples; and innovative delivery models to facilitate uptake of new technologies.  We have current projects in far Southwest Virginia, in Charlottesville with Latina women, and in Nicaragua.
Key words: Women’s health, Cervical cancer prevention, Health disparities research, global health

Position Description: Students will be oriented to each of the projects we currently are working on, and will receive training about the current guidelines for cervical and breast cancer screening in the US and globally.  Students will assist in organizing study materials, including: Creating research packets for participants to receive; tracking when research packets are returned; facilitating taking samples to the micro lab for processing and receiving results.  Students will also assist with reviews of the literature in the area of women's reproductive health and cancer prevention.  Students will participate in research meetings, and will identify in consultation with me, a specific area of interest within the broader project for them to focus on as an independent project.

Required skills: Good organizational skills is a must for participation in this project.  Health promotion course work prior to applying for this position would be ideal, but not required.

Computer software: We primarily use Microsoft word, excel, and a web-based qualitative management application called Dedoose.  Students can watch youtube videos about Dedoose to familiarize themselves prior to joining the research team.

Training/certification: Students will need to complete CITI certification (both SBS and HSR), and will be required to watch/listen to some select webinars in preparation for joining the research team.

What you will learn: Participating in this program of research will provide students with rich experience in translational community-based science aimed at promoting women's health and preventing cancer.  Three things students will take away from this project are:

  1. Strong insight into the complexities of clinical/community-based research on sensitive topics and specific to health disparities.
  2. Strong skills specific to the day-to-day operations of conducting this research.
  3. Strong support to explore independent research questions within this program of research.

Web site link to research: https://www.statnews.com/2017/03/01/pap-smear-cervical-cancer-hpv/