Dr. Kentya Ford receives grant to study cancer-related behaviors among African American students

August 8, 2013

Congratulations to Dr. Kentya Ford, assistant professor in the Health Outcomes and Pharmacy Practice Division in the College of Pharmacy, who received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study Behaviors Related to Cancer Risk Among African-American College Students. Ford is one of the faculty members recruited through DDCE’s thematic faculty hiring initiative.


Dr. Kentya Ford came to UT Austin in January 2012 as a DDCE thematic faculty hire in the School of Pharmacy. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and an assistant professor at Prairie View A&M University.


Ford and her research team will assess the incidence of cancer-related health risk behaviors and the role of culturally-based social and environmental factors in the adoption of those behaviors, among African American college students at Prairie View. The behaviors include sexual risky behaviors, poor diet, tobacco use, alcohol use, physical inactivity which are the five most cited behaviors that lead to cancer.  And just as important, the team will examine factors such as socio-environmental and cultural factors such as family-related related factors, peer influence, health literacy and mental health indicators that are associated with these behaviors that can lead to adoption of behaviors or in some cases avoidance of those behaviors.

The study will generate data that will lay the groundwork for the development of more qualitative studies, as well as culturally and methodologically sound behavior change interventions for the prevention and/or mitigation of cancer-related health risk behaviors in underserved African American youth and young adults.

The research team for the two-year study includes co-investigators Dr. Angela Branch-Vital, Prairie View A&M University and Dr. Keenan Pituch, UT Austin Department of Educational Psychology.  Consultants to the project include Dr. Yesseina Castro and Dr. Catherine Cubbin from the UT Austin School of Social Work and others from the University of Texas  MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston, the University of Houston and Texas Southern University.


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