The Office of Community Outreach & Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB continues to provide community-engaged research and support for multiple projects that seek to better understand and enhance cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship. The office is currently assisting two new community-engaged research projects.

At-Home Cervical Cancer Screening Study

OCOE recently began a collaboration with the At-Home Cervical Cancer Screening Study to assess the feasibility of a home-based, self-collected HPV testing kit. The long-term goal of the study is to improve cervical cancer screening among medically underserved women in Alabama.

At-Home Cervical Cancer Screening Study

Currently, Pap testing and human papillomavirus, or HPV, testing are the two most common methods to screen for cervical cancer.

Researchers are seeking to recruit African American women and women living in rural areas of Alabama to participate in the study, which is led by Van Nghiem Ph.D., a scientist at the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and an assistant professor in the UAB School of Public Health.

Women who participate in the study will have an HPV test kit mailed to their homes.

Researchers hope to demonstrate that home-based testing is a practical option for women in Alabama.

OCOE community coordinators will seek participants in Alabama’s Barbour, Butler and Macon counties.

The study is open to African American women and women living in rural areas of Alabama who:

  • Are between the ages of 30 and 64
  • Have not had a Pap test in at least 3.5 years
  • Are not pregnant
  • Have not had a hysterectomy


OCOE is also assisting researchers in recruiting participants for an exercise study for survivors of breast cancer.


The study involves 10 weeks of exercise under the supervision of an exercise specialist and 12 weeks of a standard, healthy diet under the guidance of a registered dietitian.
The study, called Exercise, Gut Microbiome, and Breast Cancer: Increasing Reach to Underserved Populations, or EMBRACE, seeks to understand whether home exercise regimens impact the human gut microbiome.

The data will be gathered virtually by a wearable exercise-tracking device.

EMBRACE is led by Laura Rogers, M.D., MPH, co-leader for the Cancer Control & Population Sciences Research Program at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study is funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama in collaboration with the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, the Aim Plan and Act on Lifestyles, or AMPLIFY, research study aims to help cancer survivors eat healthy foods and get sufficient exercise.

Cancer survivors are at higher risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, broken bones and additional cancer diagnoses. Exercising, improving your diet and maintaining a healthy body weight may help some cancer survivors avoid health issues, according to researchers with AMPLIFY.

AMPLIFY seeks to learn more about how healthy eating and exercise can be used to improve health.

"Truly, this diet and exercise program is a great way to start the new year," said Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., R.D., associate director for Cancer Prevention & Control at the O’Neal Cancer Center, who is leading the AMPLIFY project.

The AMPLIFY project will continue over the next three years and will also continue to recruit participants until next fall. Participants will be enrolled in one of two yearlong lifestyle programs to learn to eat better, exercise more and achieve a healthy weight.

Previous research, including that by AMPLIFY team members, shows that quality of life for cancer survivors can be improved by being physically active and eating well, as well as by losing weight for those who are overweight. Other benefits of these lifestyle changes include slowing down the aging process, helping survivors maintain strength and reducing rates of depression.

AMPLIFY is open to women and men who:

  • Are age 50 and older
  • Have had breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial (uterine) cancer, thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or multiple myeloma
  • Are at least one year post-diagnosis
  • Have a Body Mass Index greater than 25 but less than 50

To participate in AMPLIFY, call (833) 535 7934 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This story originally ran in the January 2022 issue of Community Connections, the monthly newsletter of the Office of Community Outreach & Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.