Research: Improving What We Know

When most people think of research, they think about scientists in white lab coats huddled over a little dish of cells. But that is only one kind of research, usually called basic science. There are many other kinds of research, too. The Office of Community Outreach is involved in program-oriented research that is more focused on people and their relationship to health information and health care. Fox Chase is also a leader in clinical trials research. This involves studies with people to evaluate new ways to screen for, diagnose, treat and prevent cancer. Clinical trials also study the impact of cancer on a person’s quality of life.

Our Program-Oriented Research

We are particularly interested in how best to reach people with health care information and how to help them become strong partners in their own health care. We know that the answers might not be the same for all groups of people. Many of our research projects take place in the community. We conduct our own research and also support other researchers. A few examples of current or recently completed research projects include:

  • Project SOURCE (Strengthening Our Understanding of Research through Community Engagement)

​This project involves community dialogues with African-American and Hispanic/Latino groups to learn about their awareness of biomedical research and what concerns they may have about participating in research. Information gathered from this study will be used to help us design programs that are more appropriate for these audiences.

  • Text for Health

A project to test whether receiving text messages encourages women to keep their scheduled appointments for mammograms on the Fox Chase MSU, in partnership with the Flyers Wives.

  • Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Hispanic Primary Care Patients

Fox Chase is collaborating with other researchers to test a decision-making strategy that includes patient navigation to increase screening amongst Hispanics.

  • NODAL Perceptual Mapping

Clinical trials are studies that help us find better ways to prevent, screen, diagnose and treat cancer. The best way to achieve this is to have a diverse population join our studies so we can design appropriate programs. This study is investigating how to determine what motivates a person or discourages a person from joining a study, and specifically focuses on African-American patients. The ultimate goal is to design an app to help researchers better address the concerns of our communities being asked to join our studies.

This feasibility study explored the intricacies involved in establishing a mobile prostate cancer-screening program for high-risk populations. Our findings indicate that there are many challenges to starting such an effort. Nonetheless, with ample support and funding, such a program would be ideal for reaching those most at risk for developing prostate cancer. See the publication.

The Cancer Disparities Research Network (CDRN) represents Region 4 of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Geographical Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program developed to support the efficient regional management of cancer health disparities research and training. Region 4 CDRN is housed at Fox Chase Cancer Center and supports a number of studies.

Clinical Trials Research

Clinical trials are critical to the discovery of effective new methods to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. In clinical trials, researchers carefully test drugs, medical devices, screening approaches, behavioral modifications and other interventions. Clinical trials can involve both cancer patients and healthy individuals. However, evidence shows that only a small percentage of people participate in clinical trials, and that an even smaller percentage of ethnic and racial minority groups participate in trials. For clinical trial results to be effective, everyone must participate.

The Office of Community Outreach supports Fox Chase’s Be the Breakthrough campaign to increase understanding of why clinical trials are important  and to help enrollment into clinical trials by designing and testing new ways to reach out to and educate diverse populations and our researchers within our institution.

To learn more about clinical trials in general, call 215- 214-1618 or email our clinical trials educator at

See what clinical trials we offer at Fox Chase.