TIDR Faculty Member Dr. Katrina Ellis received a Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01) from the National Cancer Institute. This prestigious, federally funded grant allows Dr. Ellis to further strengthen her skills in intervention research and cancer genetics and supports her research focused on developing and testing a tailored, eHealth intervention for African American families that encourages uptake of recommended cascade genetic testing by improving communication about genetic testing results and targeting drivers of and barriers to behavior change (e.g., knowledge, attitudes, skills for communication and testing).

Dr. Ellis’s K01 project directly addresses disparities in cancer outcomes among African Americans. Increasing genetic testing to uncover genetic mutations that increase cancer risk is one way to address this disparity; however, African Americans are less likely than other racial groups to receive genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes. African Americans also have lower rates of cancer cascade testing, a process for providing genetic counseling and testing for relatives of African Americans who are known carriers of specific cancer-related genetic mutations. As genetic testing becomes increasingly available, it is critically important to design interventions to reach all populations, especially those that have been traditionally underserved. Tailored strategies are particularly useful for increasing intervention access and uptake where health disparities exist.

Congratulations on this major accomplishment, Dr. Ellis! We know that this work will have a substantial impact on the acceptability and access to genetic testing among African Americans and reflects your commitment to health equity and racial justice!