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South Dakota Project Receives NCI Grant for Cell Phone-Based Study

Mar 28, 2015 06:36PM ● By MED Magazine

Originally published in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of MED Magazine. 


The John T. Vucurevich Regional Cancer Care Institute’s (CCI) Walking Forward program has received a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to fund a first-of-its-kind research project among Northern Plains American Indians. The American Indian mHealth Smoking Dependence Study” is one the first projects in the state to utilize mobile technology to analyze risky behaviors and promote smoking cessation.


The NCI grant is $1.85 million over four years and is one of 57 granted from among 700 applicants. The grant was awarded as part of NCI’s new “Provocative Questions Project”, a research effort designed to address “important but not obvious” questions in cancer research and treatment.


“This is a great opportunity for us to use innovative technologies that are currently in use – such as cell phones - in order to address research questions that may positively impact the lives of many in this region,” said Daniel Petereit, M.D., CCI Radiation Oncologist, Medical Director of Research at Rapid City Regional Hospital, and Principal Investigator of the study. “It was a great honor to have been awarded this grant as we were competing against major academic centers throughout the country.”


mHealth (mobile health) is the use of wireless devices such as cell phones to provide health-related information. The wireless devices will utilize the Theory for Planned Behavior (link between attitudes and behaviors) in to provide health-related information, keep project costs down, and increase efficiency.


“American Indians cell phone usage is increasing and I am very excited to be the first in the region to conduct this type of research,” said Dr. Petereit. “We anticipate using the results from this study to help all populations that live in this part of the country.” 


Dr. Petereit will collaborate in the study with Shalini Kanekar, Ph.D., Consultant, CCI; Linda Burhansstipanov, MSPH, DrPH; Linda Krebs, Native American Cancer Initiatives in Denver, CO.; Sheikh Iqbal Ahamed, Ph.D., from Marquette University in, Milwaukee, WI.; Mark Dignan, MPH, PhD, from University of Kentucky; and Stevens Smith, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Smith is a tobacco cessation expert and will serve as the consultant with the project.


“Dr. Petereit, his research team, and, in particular, the American Indians and members of the community served by the Walking Forward Program, have made and continue to make important steps in bringing improved cancer care to all Americans,” said Norm Coleman, M.D., Associate Director at the NCI. “Success in grant funding is a challenge, particularly so in the current tight budget climate, so this award demonstrates the superb quality of this team and community. It is a privilege for us at the NCI to be part of this effort.”