Print
 

AH picture - Alejandra De Mendoza.jpg

Alejandra Hurtado de Mendoza, PhD

March 15, 2018

I am an Assistant Professor at the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. I am a bilingual Social Psychologist with an interdisciplinary training in Anthropology and Communication, Culture, and Technology.


Describe your research interests and how you chose this area of research.

My long-term career goal is to become an independent interdisciplinary researcher with expertise in the clinical and population translation of genomics to reduce breast cancer disparities among underserved populations. I aim to combine interdisciplinary approaches in social psychology, behavioral science, and communication to develop and evaluate interventions that address stark disparities in the uptake of genetic risk assessment in high-risk underserved groups.

My research focuses on translational genomics with underserved populations. I am MPI of an NCI R03 grant to develop and pilot a You Tube video intervention to enhance the use of genetic counseling services in Latina women at-risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. I am also co-leading an NINR R21 grant to adapt an Intelligent Tutoring System intervention (BRCA-Gist) to enhance the use of genetic counseling services in at-risk Latina and African American women. In my Career Award (KL2) I am currently adapting an evidence-based Telephone Counseling intervention to broaden the reach and accessibility to genetic counseling for at-risk Latina women. I chose this area of research because I am committed to reduce health disparities.

How does GHUCCTS help you to achieve your research goals and advance your career in clinical and translational research? How will the CTSA program help to advance knowledge and treatments for patients with the disease(s) you study?

The GHUCCTS KL2 scholar award provides an exceptional platform for developing interdisciplinary and innovative projects with translational clinical implications. Having the opportunity to participate in courses, workshops, and meetings and to have access to a transdisciplinary team of mentors and advisors with expertise in genomics, behavioral science, cancer disparities, linguistics, and biostatistics will allow me to develop novel translational interventions that assure that evidence-based health applications, technologies, and guidelines are equally beneficial to underserved populations. The experience, knowledge and skills I will gain from a KL2 will provide me with the experience and preliminary data to pursue larger R-series applications and become an independent researcher.

Why is it important to have both disciplinary and ethnic/cultural diversity in medical research? How does diversity contribute to your research? How does diversity enhance scientific discovery?

Ethnic/racial diversity is key in medical research to assure that the findings are generalizable and beneficial to all the populations. My research focuses on developing interventions to reduce health disparities. All my research focuses on ethnically/racially diverse populations.

How does clinical translational research benefit our communities, both directly and indirectly?

Interdisciplinary, translational research to address disparities is needed to assure that the rapidly emerging discoveries in cancer genomics are equally beneficial to all racial and ethnic/racial groups.