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Public Health Students Gain Valuable Experience in Cancer Research

Elizabeth Smith

Elizabeth Smith

Mario Trejo

Mario Trejo

Graduate students Elizabeth Smith and Mario Trejo from the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health spent their summer engaged in cancer research training in minority populations in Lusaka, Zambia and Tucson. Both students are recipients of the Cancer Epidemiology Education in Special Populations (CEESP) Program Fellowship.

CEESP provides funding for master of public health (MPH) and doctoral students to travel and conduct summer research in U.S. minority and global settings. The 15-week program provides special educational opportunities for students to learn about cancer epidemiology in special populations as well as translation of epidemiology into cancer control and prevention interventions.

Smith and Trejo presented their research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health in August. Watch their video presentations here.

Smith is a master of public health (MPH) student with a concentration in Health Services Administration. Her research focus was a quality improvement project at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) for an underserved population in Southern Arizona. She conducted a comprehensive chart review of advance directive (living will), completion rates in veterans diagnosed with cancer. This project will allow for SAVACHS to gauge the effectiveness of their process for discussing and transcribing advance directives with cancer patients. Project title: "Review of end of life care preferences for Veterans diagnosed with cancer in Southern, Arizona"

Trejo is an MPH student with a concentration in Epidemiology. He worked with epidemiologists at the Cancer Diseases Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia studying the effect of HIV status on cancer progression for cases of non-metastatic cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in sub-Saharan Africa. Project title: "Effects of HIV status on response to treatment for cases of non metastatic cervical cancer patients in Lusaka, Zambia." 

The CEESP is now accepting applications from MPH and doctoral students for summer 2018. The deadline for applications is December, 31, 2017. For more information about the CEESP fellowship program, please visit the website:

This program is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (R25 CA112383). 

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