Howell Foundation Awards Grant to Develop Resources for Young Cancer Survivors.


H. Irene Su, MD, MSCE, an associate professor in the Department of Reproductive Medicine and Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, has been awarded a Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) grant from the Doris A Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research to support her efforts to improve reproductive health needs of young female cancer survivors.

The CEI award from the Howell Foundation provides up to $15,000 in funding for pilot research projects which support health promotion and disease prevention among under-served women within the greater San Diego region. The grant is unique in partnering academic researchers with community organizations. For more information about the Howell Foundation, go to: www.howellfoundation.org.

Su is the first researcher from UC San Diego to receive the award, which is now in its third year.  She hopes to develop and pilot test a web-based survivorship care plan to improve reproductive health issues such as fertility and pregnancy for adolescent and young adult women who have had cancer. Su said a considerable body of knowledge now exists on screening and managing reproductive issues, which could provide significant benefit to cancer patients and their caregivers if properly disseminated.  Su will partner with the community organization, Stupid Cancer and work with patient advocates and other UC San Diego cancer research and clinical faculty to conduct this study.

Since the Howell Foundation Community Engagement Initiative was launched in 2012, a sub-committee led by Camille Nebeker (Foundation Board Member and member of the UC San Diego Family and Preventive Medicine faculty) has developed and tested procedures for the CEI grant application and review process.  The application is modeled after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mechanism to initiate collection of preliminary data necessary for most large grant proposals. Likewise, the application review process engages academic researchers from local universities who provide a critical review and score each proposal according to established criteria.  Proposals are assessed for their impact on women’s health, strength of the academic-community partnership, potential for sustainability, research design, investigator qualifications and feasibility of accomplishing study goals.

Dr. Su graduated from Stanford University and earned her M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Su is currently an Assistant Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. She is board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

In addition to her clinical activities, Dr. Su is a reproductive epidemiologist who leads state-of-the-art research efforts on improving reproductive health in young women with cancer. Dr. Su has published in the fields of fertility preservation, oncofertility, breast cancer, contraception and menopause. She has an active laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. She is the recipient of the American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Award, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Career Development Award and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine/Ortho Women’s Health Research Grant. Dr. Su has also received numerous research and teaching awards.

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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation: 
The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community. 

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