Meet Dr. Evan Graboyes, Mentored Research Development Award (MRDA) recipient, Assistant Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Cancer Control Researcher at the NCI-designated MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, and Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) Surgeon Scientist. Dr. Graboyes’ research aims to decrease mortality and racial disparities in survival for HNC patients through innovative, multi-level, theory- based, healthcare delivery interventions to improve the timeliness and quality of care HNC delivery. His research focuses on identifying strategies to improve the timeliness and equity of postoperative radiation therapy following surgery for HNC, the critical area of delay in HNC.
HNC is a disease with poor survival, especially for African Americans, despite intense treatment including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Delays between surgery and the start of postoperative radiation therapy are common, cause excess mortality, and contribute to worse survival in African Americans. Dr. Graboyes’ research team has developed NDURE (Navigation for Disparities and Untimely Radiation thErapy), a multi-level, theory-based navigation
intervention that represents a promising approach to minimize delays starting radiation after HNC surgery. NDURE could provide the first effective intervention to improve timely, equitable care in this patient population, thereby improving survival for patients with HNC, decreasing racial disparities in mortality, and developing new standards of clinical care.
Dr. Graboyes was awarded the MRDA by the DE CTR ACCEL Program in 2018 to provide him with scientific mentoring and protected time as he pursued a K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award. With regards to the benefits of the MRDA, Dr. Graboyes commented, “It gave me time to write the grant and gave me access to a network of peer reviewers and mentors. It helped make grant writing understandable and demystified the lengthy grant review process. I had support from different levels and institutions, such as Nemours Hospital, other MRDA Awardees, and from my primary MUSC mentor, Chanita Hughes Halbert.” As an MRDA Awardee, Dr. Graboyes also attended a workshop at Nemours entitled Collaborating with Respect. The class was led by Dennis Morris, LSW who taught about how to best collaborate and work with other scientists.
Thanks in part to the support of the MRDA, Dr. Graboyes and his team recently were awarded a 5-year K08 grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop NDURE as an innovative approach to improving timely, equitable care for patients with HNC as well as to provide Dr. Graboyes with additional mentored scientific training