D'Silva, Joanne (UMD SPH Behavioral and Community Health)
Rose, Shyanika (Truth Initiative)
Mayo, Ashley (Truth Initiative)
Ganz, Ollie (Truth Initiative)
Perreras, Lexie (Battelle Memorial Institute)
Cohn, Amy (Battelle Memorial Institute)
Background: Perceived discrimination leads to adverse health outcomes and higher risk of tobacco use among various racial/ethnic minority groups. Menthol cigarette use is more prevalent in racial/ethnic minority groups as well as among young adults. Yet, the relationship of discrimination in menthol cigarette use has been understudied.
Goal: The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine whether perceived experiences of discrimination are related to past 30-day menthol smoking status among young adults.
Objectives: We hypothesized that perceived experiences of discrimination are related to past 30-day menthol smoking status, after controlling for race/ethnicity and other demographic characteristics.
Approach: A multi-ethnic convenience sample of young adults (n=599, aged 18-24) were surveyed online via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Analyses included a subset of participants (n=177) who reported cigarette use in the past 30-days (current smokers). Participants were asked whether they typically used menthol or non-menthol-flavored cigarettes. Exposure to lifetime discrimination was assessed using the Brief Perceived Ethnic Discrimination Questionnaire-Community Version scale. Differences in experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination were assessed between menthol and non-menthol smokers in bi-variate analyses and adjusted models controlling for demographics, perceived stress, and smoking-related correlates.
Results: Preliminary results suggest that non-Hispanic Black and female smokers were more likely to report current use of menthol cigarettes than non-Hispanic White and male smokers, respectively. Discrimination scores for menthol compared to non-menthol smokers were significantly higher (1.19 vs. 0.71, p<.001; mean total sample 0.99, SD=0.88). In adjusted logistic regression analyses, the odds of being a menthol smoker were 2.2 greater for every unit increase in perceived discrimination, after controlling for race/ethnicity, gender, education, and perceived stress (p=.001).
Importance to public health: This study is suggestive that vulnerability characteristics, such as discrimination, may influence menthol cigarette use over and above demographics associated with increased use and race/ethnicity. Additional research can determine how experiences of discrimination may influence communication of policy efforts around menthol for young adults who may be most at-risk of tobacco use.
Griffioen, Mina (UMD SPH Public Health Science)
Briggs, Joseph (UMD CMNS Cell Biology and Genetics)
Jones, John (UMD CMNS Cell Biology and Genetics)
Dinman, Jonathan (UMD CMNS Cell Biology and Genetics)
Background: Translation of the genetic code is traditionally thought to be static. However, specific signals have been discovered in certain mRNAs that can dynamically adjust the coding capacity of the genome. Programmed ribosomal frameshifting (PRF) is a mechanism by which mRNAs can produce several polypeptides. Ribosomes may slip a base then they encounter a PRF structural element resulting in translation of a unique polypeptide. This mechanism is well described in viruses but few examples exist in higher eukaryotes (1).
Goal: Previously, a dual luciferase reporter system was used to quantify PRF in cells. However, we identified several problems with this system prompting us to develop a new generation of dual reporter plasmids. Using modified dual luciferase and dual fluorescent reporters, we cross-validated previously published +1 and -1 PRF signals in HeLa and HEK293T cells (2).
Objectives: These include signals for mammalian ornithine decarboxylase antizyme (OAZ1), as well as tumor related genes MA3 and PEG10 (3).
Approach: Using the dual fluorescent approach, coupled with live-cell imaging, we were able to answer the question of cell-to-cell heterogeneity for PRF.
Results: The results indicated that individual cells have different rates of frameshifting but the median fluorescence of the cell population was in good agreement with our whole cell lysis approach in both reporter systems.
Importance to public health: Taken together, we have established a new generation of reporters to understand translational control of genes that may play a role in cancer and other diseases.
Background: The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) has been conducting the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) since 2003. This data collection program was created to monitor changes in the rapidly evolving field of health communication, to understand the use of different communication channels and to create more effective communication strategies. The dataset used for this project consisted of about 425 variables or fields, each of which represent a question on the survey, and 3285 observations. We focus on a subgroup of the whole population, the low income and less educated. In practice, this group of people are vulnerable to cancer and thus their survey results worth being shed more light on. We investigated their likelihood of getting cancer, beliefs towards cancer and cancer information search behaviors.
Goal: Increasing Cancer Awareness in Low Income Population
Objectives: Our findings include: 1) People suffering with depression are more likely to get cancer 2) Marital status was found to have a higher correlation with cancer 3) People that have used e-cigarettes have higher chances of getting cancer 4) We also found a moderate level effect of diabetes on cancer 5) Age had a very high correlation with the chances of getting cancer 6) these people are inclined to connect cancer to fatality and be pessimistic in lowering the chances for getting cancer; 7) they avoid to accept any possibility of getting cancer and even choose to ignore their chances of getting cancer; 8) they don’t actively engage in cancer information searching but are unconfident for finding the information if they need.
Approach: It is obvious that the gap between high probability of getting cancer and low awareness of cancer within group is overwhelming. So we suggest design an effective tool to facilitate positive perspectives and cancer literacy in this population, based on their beliefs and search behaviors. The use of Internet and mobile devices are fascinating since this is one popular source outputting easy-to-understand health information. However, given the barrier that people in this group don’t have access to smartphones or Internet, we design a cancer information kiosk set up in the underprivileged neighborhoods.
Results: Based on our findings, we put forward the kiosk idea designed for the low income and less educated user group. Since they don’t have access to mobile phones or laptops in their daily life, the public kiosk around their living area could bridge the gap and arouse their awareness on the cancer issues. The main features of the kiosk are cancer trivia game, doctor tips, credit system and new cancer information. When users start to use the kiosk, they could participant in cancer trivia game, which are some key findings from the HINTS dataset. For instance, how likely you get cancer if you use the cigarette. If the participant choose the right answer, they could get some points. If not, the kiosk will present the right answer with explanations. After answering the questions, the system automatically sum up all the points and users could use the points to exchange some prize. Also, users are able to walk through some key cancer findings or prevention tips for cancer on the kiosk with the guidance of a virtual clinician. In the end, the kiosk will encourage users to download the app or leave phone number, which could build long-term connection with the target users.
Importance to public health:
Holt, Cheryl (University of Maryland)
Santos, Sherie Lou (University of Maryland)
Liu, Hongjie (University of Maryland)
Jones, Laundette (University of Maryland)
Slade, Jimmie (Community Ministry of Prince Georges County)
Background: Institutionalization of evidence-based practices into an organization’s standard behavior is believed to improve the likelihood of sustainability. Project HEAL 2.0 (Health through Early Awareness and Learning) is an implementation trial aiming to institutionalize (integrate) evidence-based cancer health education activities into African American churches. We train lay peer community health advisors (CHAs) to conduct cancer educational workshops and encourage them to work with church leadership to develop sustainable cancer and health education activities. This is done through use of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) individualized for each church. This presentation will report on pilot phase data from HEAL 2.0 with a focus on the integration strategies that the churches selected and implemented during the pilot period.
Goal: Project HEAL 2.0 (Health through Early Awareness and Learning) is an implementation trial aiming to institutionalize (integrate) evidence-based cancer health education activities into African American churches.
Objectives: We train lay peer community health advisors (CHAs) to conduct cancer educational workshops and encourage them to work with church leadership to develop sustainable cancer and health education activities. This is done through use of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) individualized for each church.
Approach: Using the MOU, pastors and CHAs from three churches identified which from a menu of integration strategies (e.g., forming a health team; developing written church health policy; dedicate staff/space for health promotion) they perceived they would be able to complete within a 3, 6, 12-, or 24-month period. Churches were asked to identify at least two strategies. We report on the number and type of strategies the churches selected, time frames in which they planned to implement them, as well as which strategies were actually implemented within the 6-month pilot period.
Results: Pastors and CHAs found the MOU easy to use. The three churches each selected between 2 and 9 implementation strategies (M = 6). In total, half of the strategies were targeted for implementation within three months while the remainder were distributed over the next 24 months. Strategies varied (e.g., including health in Pastor sermons and social media; allocating space for health activities; designating a person to be in charge) with multiple churches intending to provide training and conduct fundraising for health promotion. We also report on strategies that the churches were actually able to implement in the initial 6-month pilot period.
Importance to public health: Project HEAL 2.0 is an illustration of institutionalizing health promotion in organizations whose primary mission is not health-related. This menu-based approach to integration may be helpful for community organizations of varying capacity for planning health activities.