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Senior Nurse Researcher Collaborates to Examine Cancer-Coping Strategies

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Posted: 4/25/2008

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) Professor Fannie Gaston-Johansson, PhD, RN has been invited by the Exploratory Research Center of Excellence at Winston-Salem State University to help develop culturally appropriate interventions for African-American women in treatment for breast cancer.

Working in a contractual relationship with the Exploratory Research Center, an organization that focuses on minority health disparities research, is a good fit for Gaston-Johansson who serves as Director of the JHUSONs Center for Health Disparities Research.   She brings to the collaboration her long-standing research expertise in both health disparities and assessment and management of pain and other symptoms affecting quality of life.  

"Preventing and relieving cancer-related pain and symptom distress can reduce suffering, increase one's ability to cope with the day-to-day challenges of everyday life, and improve quality of life, Gaston-Johansson notes. Through this pilot research study of African-American women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment, she hopes to contribute to the growing literature about the prevalence and severity of symptoms such as pain, the effectiveness of various coping strategies, and ways to improve the quality of life during and after cancer treatment.

Gaston-Johansson, the first African-American woman to be a tenured full professor at JHU, will develop and test culturally appropriate interventions to prevent, manage, and alleviate symptom distress in this group of cancer patients. She also will work to promote the next generation of nurse researchers who can help decrease the breast cancer-related disparities faced by underserved women, including women of color. 

The Exploratory Research Center of Excellence is funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) and supports minority health and health disparities research, research training, and community engagement and outreach.