CPRIT gives Health Science Center researcher cancer prevention grant to partner with YMCA

SAN ANTONIO (July 28, 2011) – The Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) on Wednesday awarded $265,000 to a researcher from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio who is working with the YMCA of Greater San Antonio to encourage healthy living and cancer prevention.

Deborah Parra-Medina, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the Health Science Center’s Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR), is co-directing “Y Living,” a lifestyle program for cancer prevention and risk reduction.

“This collaborative project uses a community-based, family-focused approach. We’ll work with families to promote physical activity, a balanced diet and increased awareness of the impact of a healthy lifestyle on cancer risk reduction,” Dr. Parra-Medina said. “We’ll provide health education, and use text messages to enroll and motivate them.”

IHPR Director Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., who is also associate director of health disparities at the Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy & Research Center, stressed the importance of finding new ways to educate people about their cancer risk and how they might lower it.

“We’re really interested in reaching out to our community through new technologies to provide them with the latest information that they can use to reduce risk factors that might predispose them to cancer,” Dr. Ramirez said.

Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2007 establishing CPRIT and authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas. CPRIT’s goal is to expedite innovation and commercialization in the area of cancer research and to enhance access to evidence-based prevention programs and services throughout the state.

The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit www.ctrc.net.

The Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio investigates the causes and solutions to the unequal impact of cancer and chronic disease among certain populations, including Latinos, in San Antonio, South Texas and the nation. The IHPR, founded in 2006, uses evidence-guided research, training and community outreach to improve the health of those at a disadvantage due to race/ethnicity or social determinants, such as education or income. Visit the IHPR online at http://ihpr.uthscsa.edu.

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