Georgetown Receives PCORI Research Award to Study Latina Breast Cancer Survivorship

Posted in News Release

WASHINGTONGeorgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center has received a research award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study a quality-of-life intervention program targeting Latina breast cancer survivors and their caregivers. The study is part of a portfolio of patient-centered research that PCORI says addresses its national research priorities and will provide patients with information that will help them make better informed decisions about their care.

Kristi Graves, PhD, an assistant professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi will lead the research project, in collaboration with Nueva Vida, a D.C.-area nonprofit organization that provides support services for Latinas with cancer.

“Many Latinas experience language and health literacy barriers, feelings of isolation and beliefs that cancer leads to death. This negatively impacts their quality of life,” Graves says. “At the same time, many caregivers feel they do not have the coping skills to support the survivor.  They also experience personal and family stress.”

The intervention was developed by Latina survivors and has been used successfully at Nueva Vida throughout its service areas in Washington, Baltimore and Richmond, Va.  

“Our long-term relationship with Georgetown Lombardi has shed light on the field of psycho-social oncology research with Latina survivors, ensuring that real-world experiences guide the work,” says Nueva Vida Executive Director Larisa Caicedo. “With the support of this research funding, we hope to discover an intervention to improve the quality of life for those with breast cancer and their caregivers that can be immediately employed in the Latina community.”

In addition to Nueva Vida, Latinas Contra Cancer (San Jose, Calif.), Gilda’s Club New York City and SHARE/LatinaSHARE (New York City) will collaborate on the research.

“If successful, the potential impact of our intervention is large — we would be able to quickly share results with more than 150 local and national groups that provide care and support to tens of thousands of Latino families facing cancer,” Graves adds.

“This project reflects PCORI’s commitment to support patient-centered comparative effectiveness research, a new approach to health research that emphasizes the inclusion of patients and caregivers at all stages of the study process,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “The research will provide patients and those who care for them better information about the health care decisions they face.”

The Georgetown Lombardi study is one of 51 projects totaling more than $88.6 million approved for funding by PCORI earlier this month. All were selected through a highly competitive review process in which scientists, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders helped to evaluate more than 400 applications for funding. Proposals were evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, how well they engage patients and other stakeholders, their methodological rigor and how well they fit within PCORI’s national research priorities. All awards were approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at

About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute (grant #P30 CA051008), and the only one in the Washington, DC area. For more information, go to

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical Translation and Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.   In fiscal year 2010-11, GUMC accounted for 85 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.