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Reducing Cancer Risk by Implementing Our Discoveries

Ross, Steven H. and Susan U. Lipstein Distinguished Professor, Washington University in St. Louis

Ross—Missouri | Steven H. and Susan U. Lipstein Distinguished Professor, Washington University in St. Louis

Credit: Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis

For more than 30 years, Ross Brownson, Ph.D., has been a trailblazer in implementation science and cancer research. His passion is finding ways to help people be more active and receive access to cancer prevention and control interventions, particularly people from underserved populations.

Ross currently leads an NCI-funded study that will help state agencies deliver the most effective public health practices to meet the needs of their communities. The study team is collecting feedback, from hundreds of public health practitioners representing all 50 states, on what types of cancer prevention and control programs they provide to the public. He reasons that better understanding how to continue using evidence-based cancer prevention and control interventions and how to decrease the use of ineffective programs will benefit people across the country.

This work draws on Ross’s background as a former official with the Missouri Public Health Department, where he worked with local and state organizations in the 1990s to implement dozens of evidence-based physical activity programs in rural Missouri.

Leveraging his experience in implementing interventions in real-world settings, Ross returned to academia to better understand how to increase the use of evidence-based interventions in public health practice to improve population health. “Translating research more quickly into interventions, which is what implementation science is all about, can make a big difference in all of our lives,” he says.

“NCI has supported my research for many years,” Ross says appreciatively. “I’m now trying to open doors for the next generation of cancer implementation scientists.” His hope is that they will blaze new trails of their own.

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