WVU hosts Appalachian Translational Research Network’s Annual Summit

West Virginia University hosted the 13th Annual Summit of the Appalachian Translational Research Network (ATRN) on October 5-6, 2023. The WVU Cancer Institute (WVUCI) was the primary sponsor of the event.

The ATRN is committed to addressing the significant health challenges and disparities specific to Appalachia by enhancing research collaborations to speed the translation of scientific discoveries to health improvements for this region. Breakout session themes ranged from Clinical Research: Recruitment, Retainment, Challenges, and Best Practices to COVID-19 Challenges in Rural Appalachia to Environmental Impacts on Healthy Habits.

The keynote address, “Working at the Intersection of Local Policy, Research, and Health in Southern Appalachia”, was delivered by Jodi Polaha, PhD, professor in the College of Medicine and director of the Institute for Integrated Behavioral Health at East Tennessee State University.

The Cancer Institute was well-represented at the Summit:

  • Research assistant professor Nicole Stout, DPT, FAPTA co-presented a lunchtime plenary panel, “Implementation Science: Perspectives on Methods to Improve Implementation of Evidence into Practice” along with Robert Stansbury, MD, professor in the WVU School of Medicine’s department of pulmonary and critical care medicine and program director of the Sleep Medicine Fellowship.
  • Research associate Dannell Boatman, EdD, MS presented a talk entitled “Communicating with Strategy: Using Behavioral Insights to Tailor Effective Colorectal and Lung Cancer Screening Messages for Appalachians”.
  • Program coordinator Catherine Whitworth presented a talk entitled “Implementation of Multifaceted Evidence-Based Interventions Increases FIT Colorectal Cancer Test Return Rate at a WV Safety Net Clinic Serving Underrepresented Groups: A Case Study”.
  • Research associate professor in the School of Medicine and associate director of the WVUCI Stephenie Kennedy-Rea, EdD presented a poster entitled “I Vaccinate, a Multi-Level, Four-State Initiative to Improve Uptake of HPV Vaccination in Appalachia: Description and Lessons Learned”.
  • Program manager Abby Starkey, MS presented a poster entitled “Growing Hope: How West Virginia's State Cancer Coalition is Increasing Food Access for People Diagnosed with Cancer”. Starkey’s poster won the “People’s Choice” award.