The Education Program (EP) is designed to position students to develop the attitudes, knowledge, and skills to conduct research on reducing cancer disparities. The EP program focuses on lifestyle behaviors that increase cancer risk for blacks and Hispanics such as tobacco use, poor diet, and physical inactivity. The program also imparts students with a deep understanding of the social determinants of health and community engagement principles. UHAND scholars (undergraduate students, doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows) and early stage investigators (ESIs) learn and engage in the lab, classroom, and community through various research, educational and interactive service learning experiences. The EP includes: 1) mentored research projects in tobacco use, diet, and physical activity disparities research; 2) didactic coursework, seminars, and journal clubs in cancer disparities and career development; 3) interactive, community-based service learning experiences; 4) summer research experiences; and 5) individual development plans. Scholars also receive ongoing training in ethics and the responsible conduct of research.
World-renowned faculty members from partner institutions participate as research faculty mentors for all scholars. These investigators have expertise in cancer risk, social determinants of health, clinical and population cancer research in black and Hispanic populations, and student mentoring. Junior faculty with expertise in these areas also participate as mentors.
The EP is co-directed by Dr. Kayce Solari Williams and Dr. Shine Chang with Dr. Kamisha Hamilton Escoto.
Dr. Kayce Solari Williams
Kayce Solari Williams, PhD, is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Psychological Health and Learning Sciences department at the University of Houston. She is Director of the Health Program, a large undergraduate program with tracks in Public Health, Allied Health, and Health Promotion where she is responsible for establishing, assessing, and evaluating student learning and program outcomes annually.
Dr. Shine Chang
Shine Chang, PhD, is a University of Texas System Distinguished Teaching Professor, a full professor within the Department of Epidemiology (term-tenured), and director of the Cancer Prevention Research Training Program (CPRTP), a large, federally funded training program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Kamisha Escoto
Dr. Kamisha Hamilton Escoto is Project Director in the Department of Health Disparities Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Escoto leads the research and administrative core for the Center for Community-Engaged Translational Research (CCETR), an institutional resource center that brings communities and researchers together to create solutions to prevent cancer and improve health.
Eileen Garza serves as a Program Coordinator for UHAND. She graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor in Science. She previously served ten years with Child Protective Services where she gained experience in program management and operational support. She is currently supporting and coordinating logistics for our Health Disparities Seminar Series for the UHAND scholars.
Arooba graduated with a Master’s in Public Health from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. She has prior experience working in the Population Health Research Intervention Unit at the University of Alberta where she conducted systematic review of school health programs and policies. She has also worked with Statistics Canada where she focused on course development and program evaluation.
Rana Banton, Program Coordinator for Cancer Prevention Research Training Program (CPRTP). Obtained a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica and a BS in biology and chemistry from Bethlehem University. She joined MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, in 2015 and currently supporting cancer prevention research with a focus on education, grants administration and management.