Postdoctoral Training in Cancer Research

Postdoctoral Training in Cancer Research brings together SDSU and UCSD faculty and mentors to guide the training program and the trainees, developing an integrated disparities curriculum that could be a model of inter-program cooperation and mutual benefit. The program has succeeded in training individuals to be independent scientists able to conduct their own research related to cancer disparities.

 

Postdoctoral Fellows

 

portrait of post doctoral fellow j. tavlaris

Jessica Barnack-Tavlaris, Ph.D. MPH, through my postdoctoral fellowship, I was engaged in activities that enhanced my knowledge of community research, program development, and grant writing. I had the opportunity to work with Por la Vida on developing a curriculum for their HPV and HPV vaccine educational program. In addition, I collaborated with Kate Murray, Maggie Syme, Amina Sheik Mohamed, and Tana Lepule on a Photovoice project examining barriers to physical activity in the Somali and Samoan communities. I also conducted research with a diverse college-aged population, to examine Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine knowledge, attitudes, and related behaviors, as well as beliefs about the causes of cancer. Currently, I am a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at The College of New Jersey. I am teaching courses such as Health Psychology, The Social Psychology of Power, Oppression, and Privilege, and Research Methods. I am also mentoring several undergraduate students in designing studies related to sexual health and health disparities. I enjoy integrating the information and skills I learned during my postdoc into my research and teaching. tavlarij@tcnj.edu

Selected Outcomes

Publications

Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L., Garcini, L., Sanchez, O., Hernandez, I., & Navarro, A. M. (In press). Focus group discussions in community-based participatory research to inform the development of a Human papillomavirus (HPV) educational intervention for Latinas in San Diego. Journal of Cancer Education.

Garcini, L., Murray, K.E., Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L., & Klonoff, E. (In press).  Issues in the assessment of diverse populations. In F. Andrasik, J. Goodie, & A. Peterson (Eds.). Biopsychosocial assessment in clinical health psychology: A handbook.

Murray, K., Liang, A., Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L., & Navarro, A. M. (In press). The reach and rationale for community health fairs. Journal of Cancer Education.

Ports, K. A., Reddy, D. M., & Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L. (In press). Sex differences in healthcare provider communication during genital herpes care and patients’ health outcomes. Journal of Health Communication.

Garcini, L. M., Galvan, T., & Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L. (2012). The study of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake from a parental perspective: A systematic review of observational studies in the United States. Vaccine, 30(31), 4588-4595.

Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L., Reddy, D. M., & Ports, K. A. (2011). Psychological adjustment among women living with genital herpes. Journal of Health Psychology, 16(1). doi: 10.1177/1359105310367527

Recent Presentations

Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L., Ports, K. A., & Klonoff, E. A. (August, 2013). Men’s beliefs about HPV and intentions to vaccinate. Poster accepted for presentation at the Annual Convention for the American Psychological Association, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L., Ports, K. A., Syme, M., & Klonoff, E. A. (March, 2013). Women’s pap smear knowledge and perceived susceptibility to cervical cancer and HPV. Paper presented at the Annual Conference for the Association for Women in Psychology, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L., Serpico, J., Skrobola, N., Krizan, J., Hyman, S., Ports, K. A., Syme, M., & Klonoff, E. A. (March, 2013). Perceived susceptibility to cervical cancer and HPV among college women. Poster presentated at the Annual Conference for the Eastern Psychological Association, New York, New York.

Syme, M., Klonoff, E. A., & Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L. (March, 2013). Predicting sexual unwellness in older adults: A case control study. Poster presented at the Society for Behavioral Medicine Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Dawson B., Lepule, T., Syme, M., Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L., & Murray, K. (2013, January). Samoan perspectives of strengths and barriers to physical activity in their communities. Poster presented at the National Multicultural Summit Conference, Houston, TX.

Sheik Mohamed, A., Murray, K. M., Syme, M., & Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L. (2012). Somali women’s perspectives of the strengths and barriers to physical activity in their communities. Paper presented at the Association for Women in Psychology Conference, Palm Springs, CA.

 

portrait of post doctoral fellow k. murray

Kate Murray, Ph.D. MPH, was a postdoctoral fellow in the SDSU/UCSD Cancer Center Partnership from 2009 to 2012. Her research interests are on health disparities and the need for culturally competent, accessible prevention and intervention efforts for under-served communities. In particular, her efforts aim to address the cultural, linguistic and other challenges that contribute to disparities among migrant and refugee communities, including efforts with the Latino, Sudanese, and Somali communities in San Diego. While a fellow through the Partnership, Dr. Murray received her Masters in Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology through SDSU’s Graduate School of Public Health. The Partnership also supported the formation of the East African Women’s Health Advisory Committee, which formed in 2011 and continues to provide oversight to research and outreach with the East African communities of San Diego. Dr. Murray facilitates this group, which has overseen the development and submission of several grants, including a study to adapt an evidence-based physical activity intervention for use with sedentary adult Somali women recently funded through the American Cancer Society. Dr. Murray is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine at UCSD. k2murray@ucsd.edu

Selected Outcomes

Publications

Murray, K.E., Marx, D.M. (in press). Attitudes toward unauthorized immigrants, authorized immigrants, and refugees. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Murray, K.E., Liang, A., Barnack-Tavlaris, J., Navarro, A. (in press). The reach and rationale for community health fairs. Journal of Cancer Education

Garcini, L., Murray, K.E., Barnack-Tavlaris, J.L., & Klonoff, E. (in press).  Issues in the assessment of diverse populations. In F. Andrasik, J. Goodie, & A. Peterson (Eds.). Biopsychosocial assessment in clinical health psychology: A handbook.

Murray, K.E., Sheik-Mohamed, A., & Ndunduyenge, G. (2013). Health and prevention among East African Women in the U.S. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 24, 233-246.  Doi: 10.1353/hpu.2013.0029

Cordero, E.D., Julian, A.K., & Murray, K.E. (2012). Measurement of Disordered Eating in Latina College-Women.  Eating Behaviors, 14, 220-223.

Cordero, E.D., Loredo, J.S., Murray, K.E., & Dimsdale, J.E. (2012). Characterizing fatigue: the effects of ethnicity and acculturation. Journal of Biobehavioral Research, 17, 59-78.

van Wyk, S., Schweitzer, R., Brough, M., Vromans, L., & Murray, K.E. (2012). A longitudinal study of mental health in refugees from Burma: The impact of treatment. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 46, 995-1003.

Murray, K.E. & Zautra, A.J. (2011). Community resilience: Fostering recovery, sustainability, and growth. In M. Ungar (Ed) The Social Ecology of Resilience: Culture, Context, Resources, and Meaning (pp. 337-346). New York: Springer Publishing.

Castro, F.G., & Murray, K.E. (2010). Cultural adaptation and resilience: Controversies, issues and emerging models. In J.R. Reich, A.J. Zautra, & J.S. Hall (Eds). Handbook of Adult Resilience (pp. 375-403). New York: Guilford.

Davidson, G.R., Murray, K.E., & Schweitzer, R.D. (2010). Review of refugee mental health assessment: Best practices and recommendations. Journal of the Pacific Rim Psychology, 4, 72-85.

Murray, K.E. (2010). Sudanese perspectives on resettlement in Australia. Journal of the Pacific Rim Psychology, 4, 30-43.

Murray, K.E., Davidson, G.R., & Schweitzer R. (2010). Mental health interventions for refugees in resettlement: A review of the literature. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80, 576-585.

Zautra, A.J., Hall, J.S., & Murray, K.E. (2010). Resilience: A new definition of health for people and communities. In J.R. Reich, A.J. Zautra, & J.S. Hall (Eds). Handbook of Adult Resilience (pp. 3-30). New York: Guilford.

Recent Funded Grants

American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Grant (PI: Kate Murray)

NIH Health Disparities Loan Repayment Grant (PI: Kate Murray)

Recent Presentations

Murray, K.E., Garcini, L., Ji, M., & Lindsay, S. (2013). Fatalism and Predictors of Health Behaviors among Undergraduate Students. Poster presented at the 34th annual Society of Behavioral Medicine conference, San Francisco, CA.

Murray, K.E. & Ndundengye, G. (2013). Cross-Cultural Training: East African Communities of San Diego. Invited lecture to UCSD 4th-year medical students, National City, CA.

Murray, K.E., & Sheik Mohamed, A. (2013). Cross-cultural perspectives: Resources and Barriers to Health Among East African Women. Oral presentation at the 5th annual Diversity Conference presented by the Office of Intercultural Relations, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.

Murray, K., & Abdi, S. (2012). Somali culture and health. Invited lecture to UCSD Preventive Medicine Residents Seminar, La Jolla, CA.

Murray, K.E., Pan, A., Mills, A., Reyes, M.L.F., Abdi, S., Velarde, H., Bennett, R., Clark, P., Villarreal, V., & Olsen, A. (2012). Addressing linguistic needs for non-native English speakers: Assessing video technology as a means for increasing cancer screening. Poster presented at the Fifth American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, San Diego, CA.

Sheik Mohamed, A., Murray, K., Syme, M., & Barnack-Tavlaris, J. (2012). Somali Women’s Perspectives of the Strengths and Barriers to Physical Activity in their Communities. Paper presented at the 2012 Annual Women in Psychology Conference, Palm Springs, CA.

 

portrait of post doctoral fellow m. syme

Maggie Syme, Ph.D. MPH, I am currently working on several projects with my mentors and postdoctoral colleagues. I am working with Dr. Hillary Klonoff-Cohen from UCSD on a grant-funded project to develop a public awareness website for pediatric cancer survivorship, helping with content and developing a tool to evaluate the website. As a team of postdoctoral colleagues, we have conducted a community research project to explore physical activity in the Somali and Samoan communities in San Diego. I have also conducted a longitudinal study on older adults to examine predictors of sexual decline and dissatisfaction. And, I recently was awarded a New Investigator Research Grant from the Alzheimer’s Association to look at assessment procedures and policy for sexual consent capacity in older adults. msyme@projects.sdsu.edu

Selected Outcomes

Publications

Mona, L.R., Syme, M.L., Cameron, R.P., Fraley, S., Smith, K. & Bagget, L. (In press). Applications of sexual health and well-being in persons with a disability. In Y. Binik & K. Hall (Eds.) Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy. Guilford Press.

Syme, M.L., Mona, L.R., & Cameron, R.P. (2013). Sexual health and well-being after cancer: Applying the sexual health model. The Counseling Psychologist, 41(2), 268 – 285. doi: 10.1177/001100001245997

Cordes, C.C., Mona, L.R., Syme, M.L., Cameron, R.P., & Smith, K. (2013). Sexuality and sexual health among women with physical disabilities. In D. Castañeda (Ed.) An Essential Handbook of Women’s Sexuality. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Syme, M.L., Delaney, E., Schuster, J., Gosian, J., & Moye, J. (2012). Sexual self-esteem and psychosocial functioning of military veterans after cancer treatment. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology. Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1080/07347332.2012.741096

Syme, M.L., Klonoff, E.A., Macera, C.A., & Brodine, S.K. (2012). Predicting sexual unwellness in older adults: The role of physical and mental health risk factors. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbs087

Kerr, B.A., Multon, K.M., Syme, M.L., Fry, N., & Owens, R. (2012). Development of the Distance from Privilege measure. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 30 (1), 88-102.doi:10.1177/0734282911428198

Recent Grants

Awarded: Alzheimer’s Association New Investigator Research Grant (PI: Maggie Syme)

Pending: NIH R03 (PI: Maggie Syme)

Recent Presentations

Syme, M.L., Klonoff, E. (March, 2013). Predicting sexual unwellness in older adults: A case-control study. Poster presented at the 34th annual conference for the Society of Behavioral Medicine. San Francisco, CA.

Syme, M.L. (January, 2013). Culture of aging. Paper presented in L.R. Mona (Chair), Diversity Across the Lifespan: Applications of Cultural Competence with Older Adults. Symposium presented at the National Multicultural Summit in Houston, TX.

Dawson, B., Lepule, J., Wickhem, K.M., Barnack-Tavlaris, J. & Syme, M.L. (January 2013). Samoan perspectives of the strengths and barriers to physical activity in their communities. Poster presented at the National Multicultural Summit in Houston, TX.

Syme, M.L. (August, 2012). The whole woman in context: Biopsychosocial considerations for sexual health. Paper to be presented in C. Cordes (Chair), Promoting Sexual Health for Women with Spinal Cord Injuries & Multiple Sclerosis. Symposium at the annual Paralyzed Veteran’s Association conference in Las Vegas, NV.

 

portrait of post doctoral fellow b. marquez

Becky Marquez, Ph.D. MPH, is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego.  Her research interests are in identifying potential sources of support and shaping networks to include sources of support for eating and exercise behaviors conducive to weight management for Latinas.  Dr. Marquez is studying how Mexican-American mother-daughter dyads communicate in ways that may or may not be supportive in controlling their weight.  This project is supported by the Comprehensive SDSU-UCSD Cancer Center Partnership (U54CA132379) which aims to increase the number of minority scientists in cancer-related research.  Dr. Marquez is also assessing weight-related behaviors among Latina social networks. bemarquez@ucsd.edu

Selected Outcomes

Publications

Pekmezi D, Dunsiger S, Gaskins R, Barbera B, Marquez B, Neighbors C, Marcus B.  Feasibility and acceptability of using pedometers as an intervention tool for Latinas. Journal of Physical Activity & Health In press.

Larsen BA, Pekmezi D, Marquez B, Benitez TJ, Marcus BH.  Physical activity in Latinas: social and environmental influences.  Womens Health (Lond Engl). 2013 9(2):201-10.

Marquez B, Wing RR.  Feasibility of enlisting social network members to promote weight loss among Latinas. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics. 2013 113:680-687.

 

For additional information on how to contact one of the former postdoctoral fellows, click their name to be directed to their university departmental page.