UWM’s Yan wins funding for patient-centered research into breast cancer disparities

MILWAUKEE _  Alice Yan has been funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Pipeline-to-Proposal Award to support a project focused on eliminating disparities in survival rates among young African-American women.

The yearlong project,  “Let’s Talk: Engaging Community Stakeholders for Patient-Driven Research to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for Young African American Breast Cancer Survivors,”  will conduct focus groups to identify the most important issues and needs — as well as the barriers — for effective breast cancer care from patients’ and caregivers’ perspectives.

Yan, an associate professor of community and behavioral health promotion in UW-Milwaukee’s School of Public Health, will use the funds provided through PCORI’s Pipeline to Proposal Awards program to build a partnership among:

  • African-American women who were diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 45
  • caregivers/family members
  • representatives from patient advocacy groups and insurers
  • healthcare providers, and
  • researchers.

“The funding allows me to advance my work on patient-centered outcome research,” Yan said.  “In particular, the engagement of stakeholders and the partnership building process will lead to the identification of a comparative clinical effectiveness research question related to the cancer control continuum from prevention to survivorship of breast cancer among African-American women diagnosed at 20-45 years old (young breast cancer survivors) in Southeast Wisconsin. We will focus on Milwaukee County, as it carries the heaviest cancer burden in the state.”

“The unique aspect of this project is that we propose a patient-centered storytelling approach for engagement and communication.” Yan added.

The project will conclude with a patient-centered conference to discuss, address and prioritize research areas of greatest importance. The conference will be co-hosted by the Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert Hospital & the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Public Health.

Yan anticipates applying for funding to conduct follow-up research into a question selected by participating cancer survivors.

Pipeline to Proposal Awards enable individuals and groups that are not typically involved in clinical research to develop the means to develop community-led funding proposals focused on patient-centered comparative effectiveness research. Established by the nonprofit PCORI, the program funds help individuals or groups build community partnerships, develop research capacity, and hone a comparative effectiveness research question that could become the basis of a research funding proposal to submit to PCORI or other health research funders.

“The Pipeline to Proposal Awards program is a manifestation of PCORI’s commitment to the meaningful involvement of patients, caregivers, clinicians and other stakeholders in all our research endeavors,” said Jean Slutsky, PA, MSPH, PCORI’s chief engagement and dissemination officer. “It provides support to those who may not otherwise have an opportunity to contribute to the field of comparative effectiveness research. We’re pleased to follow the awardees’ progress as they develop partnerships and begin to form research questions.”


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.

About UWM
Recognized as one of the nation’s 115 top research universities, UW-Milwaukee provides a world-class education to 26,000 students from 89 countries on a budget of $667 million. Its 14 schools and colleges include Wisconsin’s only schools of architecture, freshwater sciences and public health, and it is a leading educator of nurses and teachers. UW-Milwaukee partners with leading companies to conduct joint research, offer student internships and serve as an economic engine for southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UW-Milwaukee a 2018 “Best Midwestern” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews, and the Sierra Club has recognized it as Wisconsin’s leading sustainable university.