Melvin receives grant from Preparedness and Treatment Equity Coalition (PTEC)


The Preparedness and Treatment Equity Coalition (PTEC) is announcing the award of three $50,000 grants to U.S. research teams investigating ways to decrease breast cancer inequity in the health care system and address the impact of systemic racism on breast cancer-related morbidity and mortality in women of color.

PTEC’s mission is to narrow the disparities in morbidity, and mortality through more effective use of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines and supportive care addressing underlying risk factors. PTEC is proud to have Gilead Sciences’ support in our efforts to decrease health inequities in the United States.

Women of color, particularly Black women, are more likely to develop breast cancer before 60 years of age and have a higher prevalence of difficult-to-treat subtypes (such as triple-negative breast cancer). Identifying novel and implementable changes that will decrease disparities and increase equity among breast cancer patients is imperative. Creating a more patient-centered breast cancer care system will result in better value for all stakeholders. To achieve this goal, PTEC has awarded grants to multi-disciplinary research teams who are identifying metrics and outcome measures that can be used to encourage policy and practice change – with the goal of decreasing inequity in breast cancer screening, treatment, and outcomes.

“Our priority at PTEC is to empower community-oriented and multidisciplinary teams to conduct data-driven health equity research. This program, funded by Gilead Sciences, enables us to support diverse teams that are developing interventions to eliminate inequities in breast cancer care,” said Cyrena Gawuga, PhD, MSW, PTEC’s Director of Research.  

Three grants totaling $150,000 were awarded to the following research teams and their projects: 

Monique Gill, from the Center for Outcomes Research and Education, Providence Health System, will examine the pathways by which healthcare experiences contribute to gaps in mammography and assess the ways in which health care experiences affect inclusion in health system breast cancer screening metrics.

Sandra Melvin, from the Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health, will investigate perceived discrimination and implicit bias and their impact on breast cancer care in the state of Mississippi. First, it will examine how implicit bias of health care providers impacts the utilization of breast cancer services among African American women between the ages of 18-50 in Mississippi. Second, it will examine the association of perceived discrimination and the quality of health care among African American women between the ages of 18-50 in Mississippi.

Renea Duffin, from the Mary Bird Cancer Center, will expand on mobile cancer screening and education program to evaluate if targeted and culturally appropriate outreach and education to racial/ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ+ community will improve breast cancer screening uptake. It will consist of outreach and education, no-cost breast cancer screening (in-kind) and patient navigation for those with abnormal findings (in-kind) in the hopes of encouraging disparate communities to receive recommended breast cancer screenings.

The grants will support project-related costs and access to services of data partners.


The Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health was established in 2019 to reduce health disparities among disadvantaged and underserved minority populations in Mississippi through the development of collaborative partnerships with community stakeholders and the implementation of evidence-based public health interventions with a particular focus on health equity. 


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