Cathy D. Meade’s research and education interests center on finding engaging and innovative ways to impact health disparities, producing culturally and literacy relevant cancer communications, creating sustained community-based education and outreach initiatives for medically underserved populations, and developing cancer training programs that increase the number of underrepresented scientists. As background, she was one of first investigators to conduct studies in the area of patient understanding identifying the mismatch between patients’ reading levels and the reading levels of health information. Practical aspects of this work have been published widely to help health professionals develop clear, easy-to-understand, and meaningful messages, instruments and interventions.
Dr. Meade has served on a number of NCI work groups on Cancer and Literacy and Informed Consent in Cancer Clinical Trials for increasing awareness of the impact of literacy in healthcare. She was a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Health Literacy Committee, which produced the 2004 report titled Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. Dr. Meade provides leadership for numerous funded education and training initiatives that address cancer, culture and literacy including marshaling the widely-recognized national biennial Cancer, Culture and Literacy conferences. She also leads Project LINK (Leaders In New Knowledge), an NCI funded research year-round training program for underrepresented high school and undergraduate students.
Several funded projects exemplify her community-engaged work that take into account culture, language and literacy for tackling health disparities. She is Co-PI of the Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network (TBCCN), which addresses critical access, prevention and control issues among medically underserved populations through outreach, training and the conduct of community-based research. Two TBCCN projects focus on: increasing colorectal cancer screening (I-FOBT) and evaluating biobanking education in clinic settings. In another project, a transcreated Spanish-language stress management toolkit, titled Cómo tratar el estrés durante la quimioterapia, is being evaluated in a randomized controlled trial involving Spanish-speaking Latinas receiving chemotherapy at cancer centers in Tampa and Miami. Other areas of interest entail establishing an infrastructure for a regional network to examine scientific aspects related to biospecimen collection and biobanking systems, and creating patient navigation models for enhanced cancer care.