Cancer Control & Population Health

UVA Cancer Center catchment area map

The Cancer Control and Population Health (CCPH) program promotes population health sciences research focused on cancer prevention, access to optimal and effective treatment, and support of cancer survivors. The three overall aims of the CCPH program are to:

  1. Identify molecular, genetic, environmental, or behavioral factors related to cancer risk
  2. Create and implement strategies to reduce cancer risk in our communities
  3. Develop and test methods that can support cancer survivors and reduce cancer burden

Across these aims, the CCPH program is focused on research that highlights health disparities in cancer care and rural access to cancer care, particularly in rural Appalachia. Additionally, the Cancer Center Without Walls (CCWW) research program comprises a novel UVA initiative to reach patients across Virginia to provide quality cancer care and to reduce cancer burden across the state. The CCPH program utilizes the Population Health and Cancer Outcomes Core and Community Engagement and Outreach in addressing these research goals.

The Population Health and Cancer Outcomes Core (PHCOC) is the primary resource in the UVA Cancer Center by which CCPH supports its research efforts. Formerly called the Cancer Control Core, PHCOC is a shared resource within the Cancer Center, established in 2014 and led by Dr. Raj Balkrishnan to support population-based cancer research at UVA. The Core provides expert advice and support in two main areas: cancer-related study design and measure development, and data services. 

The Cancer Center’s Community Outreach and Engagement team provides community cancer resources and also assists with and promotes CCPH population research. This team provides community cancer education and service programs and activities aimed at promoting cancer prevention and survivor support. Through the CCC, Community Outreach and Engagement supports researchers by serving as a liaison with community partners to promote, recruit, and assist with research studies.

CCPH is led by Li Li, MD, PhD, and Wendy Cohn, PhD. The program is represented by a wide variety of research interests and expertise across the Cancer Center and UVA Health.

Read more about program members and their research interests.


Dr. Roger Anderson Receives $1M Grant from the American Cancer Society 

Dr. Roger Anderson, Professor of Public Health Sciences and Associate Director for Population Sciences at the UVA Cancer Center, has received a $1 million Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society. In collaboration with Dr. Chris Louis at Boston University, Dr. Anderson will lead a study that examines the impact of mammography screening facilities’ policies, practices, and resources on screening rates and breast cancer incidence among women in the rural Appalachian region. This study is a unique opportunity to understand how organizational practices and policies impact breast screening rates and uptake in underserved areas across several states. Congratulations Dr. Anderson! 

CCPH 2019 Pilot Grant Cycle 

Thank you to the applicants who submitted proposals for this year’s reissued cycle of CCPH pilot grant funding for new initiatives in population-based cancer research. Reviews are underway and funding decisions will be announced before June 2019. Please check back here soon for a list of our new award recipients. 

Drs. Balkrishnan and Jones’ Op-Ed in The Conversation Highlights the Need for Doctors to Discuss Options Better for Black Men with Prostate Cancer

Drs. Raj Balkrishnan and Randy Jones’ recent op-ed discusses the need for a new system of discussing prostate cancer options with its most vulnerable demographic: black men. With much disparity facing this group in terms of receiving effective therapies and doing so in a timely manner, this study examined ways to improve the process with healthcare providers. It was found that decision aids that are tailored to the individual patient can help patients apply specific health information while actively participating in health-related decision making. Patients in this study reported being able to successfully use decision aids to discuss quality of life, not just quantity, with their healthcare providers. Congratulations to Dr. Balkrishnan and Dr. Jones!

Opioid Adherence Among Breast Cancer Patients 

Drs. Raj Balkrishnan, Leslie Blackhall and Virginia LeBaron’s publication in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment highlights the lack of adherence to breast cancer treatment due to the stigmas associated with opioid use.