Grantee: Chanita Hughes-Halbert

Chanita Hughes-Halbert

Chanita Hughes-Halbert, Ph.D.

Behavioral Scientist
BBPSB FEATURED GRANTEE
Organization:
  • Medical University of South Carolina - Hollings Cancer Center

Current Title
Professor and AT&T Distinguished Endowed Chair for Cancer Equity
Medical University of South Carolina

Describe your scientific identity.
I am a behavioral scientist conducting research on how psychological and social processes such as stress, cognitions, collective efficacy, and neighborhood characteristics influence cancer risk and outcomes, particularly in racial and ethnic minorities and individuals from other medically underserved groups.

What are your research interests?
My research interests include minority health and cancer health disparities, the development and evaluation of clinic and community-based interventions for cancer control, and working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders to disseminate and implement empirical evidence into practice.

What is the significance of your current research project?
Reducing disparities and enhancing equity among racial and ethnic minorities is at the forefront of the nation's agenda on cancer prevention and control. We are now at a critical juncture where it is essential to move beyond descriptive information on racial disparities in cancer morbidity and mortality to translational studies that examine basic behavioral processes and how these processes interact with biological, social, and psychosocial factors to contribute to disparities.

What motivated you to work in biobehavioral or psychological science research?
I first became interested in cancer health disparities when I was a postdoctoral fellow and the first report on the unequal burden of breast cancer was published. That report had a profound effect on the trajectory of my academic career; I dedicated my career to addressing cancer health disparities through a transdisciplinary research program in minority health. The inequality that still exists in cancer outcomes continues to reinforce my dedication.

Describe something that had a profound influence on your program of research or scientific interests (an "ah-ha!" moment).
I have learned the most about the issues facing cancer patients by talking to survivors about their cancer care experiences. Cancer is a scary disease, but for some individuals, it is one of many stressors that they are dealing with in their lives. People are diagnosed with, treated for, and recover from cancer within the general context of their lives. Other stressors and situations don't stop...

Selected training, awards, and honors:

  • Chairperson, Minorities in Cancer Research Council, American Association for Cancer Research, 2014-2017
  • Member, National Academy of Medicine, 2017
  • American Association of Cancer Research Distinguished Lecture on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities award (funded by the Susan G. Komen Foundation), 2018


I dedicated my career to addressing cancer health disparities through a transdisciplinary research program in minority health. The inequality that still exists in cancer outcomes continues to reinforce my dedication.”