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25th Annual Cancer Institute Symposium

This program happened in the past, and no dates are currently scheduled.

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Conference ID



  • Physicians
  • Physician assistants
  • Public and population health professionals
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Laboratory scientists
  • Researchers
  • Residents and fellows
  • Graduate students
  • Social and behavioral scientists
  • Patient navigators


This program is designed to acquaint participants with current trends of basic and population research and clinical applications in the field of cancer prevention and control.

Overall Objectives

  • Discuss how disparities influence the biologic behavior of cancer.
  • Discuss psychosocial and behavioral issues that contribute to cancer health disparities.
  • Describe breast cancer education and screening intervention which may be particularly effective in African-American women.



Penn State College of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Penn State College of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


There is no fee for this program, but registration is required.


The University reserves the right to cancel or postpone any course or activity because of insufficient enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances.

If a program is canceled or postponed, the University will refund registration fees but cannot be held responsible for any related costs, charges, or expenses, including cancellation/change charges assessed by airlines or travel agencies. Preregistered participants will be notified if a program is filled or canceled.


Host Faculty

From Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Cancer Institute in Hershey, Pa.:

Andrea Manni, MD
Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Eugene Lengerich, VMD, MS
Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences
Associate Director, Health Disparities and Engagement

Invited Faculty

Deborah Erwin, PhD
Distinguished Member, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Buffalo, N.Y.

  • Deborah Erwin, PhD, served as the Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y., from August 2006 until April 2019. In this role, she was advancing community-based research at Roswell Park directed toward reducing, eliminating and preventing health disparities; as well as developing and maintaining peer-reviewed funded programs. Dr. Erwin recently stepped down from her Associate Cancer Center Director position and is working on an R41 Small Technology Transfer (STTR/R41) Grant to test the feasibility and commercialization of methods to increase colorectal cancer screening for Medicaid patients. Dr. Erwin, a medical anthropologist, co-founded the Witness Project, a breast cancer education and screening intervention for African-American women, in 1991. The Witness Project, developed in rural Arkansas, has been replicated nationally at more than 40 program sites in 22 states, and is now a sustainable, grass-roots 501(c)(3) national outreach organization. Dr. Erwin’s intervention research includes efficacy studies of cancer screening in the growing and diverse Latino/Hispanic and refugee populations in the United States, biobanking participation among minorities and a multi-site R01 to evaluate increasing colorectal cancer screening among African-American men and women.

Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Associate Dean for Assessment, Evaluation and Quality Improvement, College of Medicine
Distinguished AT&T Endowed Chair for Cancer Equity, Hollings Cancer Center
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, S.C.

  • The goal of Dr. Chanita Hughes-Halbert’s research program is to identify sociocultural, psychological, genetic and environmental determinants of cancer health disparities and to translate this information into sustainable interventions in clinic and community-based settings to improve cancer outcomes in racially and ethnically diverse populations. Dr. Hughes-Halbert is a nationally recognized expert in cancer prevention and control among diverse populations and her research is supported by numerous grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Previously, she was a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors at the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute Advisory Council. Dr. Hughes-Halbert is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Isidore Rigoutsos, PhD
Founding Director, Computational Medicine Center
Professor, Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, Pa.

  • Dr. Isidore Rigoutsos is the inaugural holder of Thomas Jefferson University’s Richard W. Hevner Chair in Computational Medicine. He is a professor in the Department of Pathology with joint appointments in the Department of Cancer Biology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Rigoutsos joined Jefferson in 2010, following an 18-year career at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center. The Rigoutsos lab studies post-transcriptional regulation by short non-coding RNAs. In recent years, the lab made several key contributions to the understanding of the molecular biology of health disparities. Specifically, the lab was first to show that, in human tissues, the production of miRNA isoforms (isomiRs) and of tRNA-derived fragments (tRFs) is constitutive. Moreover, the lab showed that the abundances of isomiRs and tRFs depend on an individual’s sex, population origin, race/ethnicity, tissue, tissue state and disease. The findings have important ramifications for implementing precision medicine, identifying accurate biomarkers and designing targeted diagnostics and targeted therapeutics.

Brid Ryan, PhD, MPH
NCI Investigator
Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis
NIH Stadtman Investigator
Center for Cancer Research
Bethesda, Md.

  • Dr. Brid Ryan is a principal investigator at the National Cancer Institute. She received all of her formal training in Ireland: from University College Cork (BSc, Biochemistry) and University College Dublin (PhD, Biochemistry, followed by Master of Public Health). She came to the United States in 2007 as an NCI-funded Cancer Prevention Fellow and trained with Dr. Curt Harris. In 2013, she started her own lab and runs a translational lung cancer research program at the National Cancer Institute with a specific focus on integrative methods to understand the factors that contribute to cancer health disparities in the United States. She is the author of more than 50 research papers and book chapters and has received numerous awards for her work, including the European Association for Cancer Research Young Scientist Award and the AACR Future Leader in Cancer Prevention Award.


Morning Activities

  • 7:45 a.m. | Final Registration/Continental Breakfast
  • 8:15 a.m. | Welcome and Introduction
    Andrea Manni, MD

Session 1: Basic Science

Moderator: Eugene Lengerich, VMD, MS

  • 8:30 a.m. | Racial Disparities in Lung Cancer
    Brid Ryan, PhD, MPH
  • 9 a.m. | MicroRNA isoforms, tRNA fragments, Repetitive Elements, Sex, Race, Disparities and Cancer
    Isidore Rigoutsos, PhD
  • 9:30 a.m. | Question-and-Answer Session
  • 10 a.m. | Break

Session 2: Behavioral/Population Science

Moderator: Eugene Lengerich, VMD, MS

  • 10:30 a.m. | Psychosocial and Behavioral Issues in Cancer Health Disparities
    Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD
  • 11 a.m. | The Development and Dissemination of Breast Cancer Education and Screening Intervention for African-American Women
    Deborah Erwin, PhD
  • 11:30 a.m. | Question-and-Answer Session
  • Noon | Lunch/Closing Remarks/Adjournment

Access (ADA)

Penn State encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of special accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Continuing Education at least one week in advance of your participation or visit.


Content and speakers for all programs are subject to change. Registrants will be notified of any significant updates.

Disclosure and Conflict of Interest (COI and educational balance)

It is our policy to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all of our educational programs. Faculty and course directors have disclosed relevant financial relationships with commercial companies, and Penn State has a process in place to resolve any conflict of interest. Complete faculty disclosure will be provided to program participants at the beginning of the activity.

University Nondiscrimination Policy

This publication is available in alternative media on request. The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, genetic information, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status and retaliation due to the reporting of discrimination or harassment. Discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against faculty, staff, or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. Direct all inquiries regarding the Nondiscrimination Policy to the Affirmative Action Director, The Pennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802-5901; tel 814-863-0471/TTY. US M.Ed. E6459

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