Dr. Rodriguez: Principal Investigator for “Hoy y Mañana”
Dr. Rodriguez is the Principal Investigator for “Hoy y Mañana” (Spanish to English translation: Today and Tomorrow), a project funded by the National Cancer Institute, Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.
The Hoy y Mañana study is the development of an educational and outreach program to promote awareness among Latinos on biobanking opportunities for cancer prevention research.
There is a significant need for cancer centers to work collaboratively with vulnerable communities to answer basic science questions related to how poverty, race/ethnicity and other variables impact cancer risk. The disproportionately lower number of certain subpopulations participating in clinical and prevention research has a significant impact on the representativeness of scientific outcomes and result in social and clinical injustices. Latinos are one of the fastest growing population groups in the United States and in Western New York and mirror African Americans in their perception of equally high levels of risk for participating in cancer screening examinations and for volunteering to become research participants in biomedical studies. This innovative two-year study based upon community-based participatory research (CBPR) principles and methods explores the perceptions, knowledge and beliefs of representatives from the Latino community in Western New York to determine how these perceptions are likely to impact participation in research, specifically biospecimen donation. The study investigates strategies to engage Latinos with scientists at an NCI designated comprehensive cancer center to increase mutual understanding of each other and participation in biospecimen donation for cancer prevention research, thereby, obtaining pilot data on variations in the types of biospecimens donated (i.e., saliva and/or blood). Results from this study are expected to identify specific barriers, challenges, and assets to research participation with Latino communities; and the technical accommodations necessary for a research institution and community partners to recruit, accrue, and analyze measures related to cancer research. This can lead to specific testable research hypotheses, potential for future environmental epidemiological CBPR studies, and provide guidelines and a foundation for building Latino community capacity around research projects.