The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has issued a funding opportunity for social and behavioral intervention research on risk factors for cancer in rural populations. NCI notes that there have been few cancer research and intervention studies focused on social and behavioral risk factors in rural settings, which this solicitation seeks to address.
NCI outlines in the funding announcement that rural populations have significantly worse health/healthcare outcomes compared to urban populations. Rural counties also have an 8% higher cancer mortality for lung, colorectal, prostate, and cervical cancers than do urban areas. Structural barriers and social determinates of poor health are pervasive in rural areas, and intervention research is needed to address as well as close the gap of those disparities.
Studies should be focused on primary prevention while also addressing one or more social and behavioral risk factors that contribute to cancer disparities. Applications and research questions may address the following:
- Disparities in behavioral risk factors for cancer in rural populations (e.g., tobacco use; diet, physical activity, and weight; alcohol consumption; UV exposure and sun-protective behavior; and HPV vaccination);
- Social determinants of health and cultural differences such as fatalism and rural identity that influence trust in and attitudes toward institutions, medical providers, and government-sponsored programs in rural populations;
- Economic and spatial barriers to healthy food access and physical activity in low-density rural environments;
- Comorbidities not traditionally associated with cancer prevention and control (e.g., opiate drug abuse, Hepatitis C virus) in order to leverage available resources for intervention development and delivery;
- Technology, communication, and health information inequalities that may contribute to cancer disparities in rural populations.
The deadline for applications is March 15, 2021. Letters of intent can be submitted 30 days prior to the application due date. Interested applicants should be sure to review the “Non-Responsive Projects” section of the funding announcement to ensure their planned project is applicable.
For more information about the National Cancer Institute’s “Social and Behavioral Intervention Research to Address Modifiable Risk Factors for Cancer in Rural Populations” funding opportunity, click here.