Newswise — Racially and ethnically diverse young women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 50, particularly Black and Hispanic/Latina women, suffer disproportionately from breast cancer health disparities and are under-represented in cancer genetics research.

Tarsha Jones, Ph.D., principal investigator and an assistant professor of nursing at Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, has received the National Institute of Health (NIH) K01 Career Development Award, a five-year, $772,525 award for a project titled, “Decision Support for Multigene Panel Testing and Family Risk Communication among Racially/Ethnically Diverse Young Breast Cancer Survivors.” 

The overall objective of Jones’ proposed study is to understand the experiences of racially/ ethnically diverse young breast cancer survivors in South Florida and to improve health outcomes among this population. The award will support further development and testing of an innovative web-based intervention to improve multigene panel testing and cancer risk-reduction among racially and ethnically diverse young breast cancer survivors in South Florida and to promote family risk communication among their at-risk family members. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) program provides support and protected time for an intensive, supervised career development experience in the biomedical, behavioral or clinical sciences, leading to research independence.

“Genetic testing for cancer susceptibility genes should be a priority for all young breast cancer patients regardless of race,” said Jones. “I am excited to receive this K01 award from the National Cancer Institute, which will enable me to advance my research skills and to become a leading independent investigator in cancer prevention and control.”

In addition to the proposed research study, Jones will complete a rigorous training and career development curriculum under the mentorship of renowned leaders in nursing, public health, medical oncology, biostatistics, and cancer survivorship.

“We are extremely proud of Dr. Jones for receiving the National Cancer Institute’s ‘Mentored Research Scientist Development Award to Promote Diversity.’ This grant will provide Dr. Jones with protected time, opportunity and an invaluable mentorship with her mentoring team, which are necessary to pursue her career and scientific goals in several targeted areas within bio-behavioral oncology and cancer survivorship,” said Safiya George, Ph.D., dean, FAU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. “The didactic and experiential learning Dr. Jones will gain from the project, combined with the development of leadership skills, will enable her to successfully transition into a leading researcher whose ultimate goal is to reduce health disparities.”

Upon successful completion of the project, Jones’ contributions will add to the elucidation of factors that impact completion of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer multigene panel testing among diverse young breast cancer patients in South Florida as well as efficacy of a behavioral intervention for increasing multigene panel testing, cancer risk-reduction, and family risk communication.

- FAU -

About the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing:

FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is nationally and internationally known for its excellence and philosophy of caring science. The college is ranked No.1 in online graduate nursing programs in Florida and No. 23 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. In 2017, with a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®), FAU BSN graduates, first-time test takers, ranked among the highest (No.1) in Florida and the United States. FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). For more information, visit


About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students across six campuses located along the southeast Florida coast. In recent years, the University has doubled its research expenditures and outpaced its peers in student achievement rates. Through the coexistence of access and excellence, FAU embodies an innovative model where traditional achievement gaps vanish. FAU is designated a Hispanic-serving institution, ranked as a top public university by U.S. News & World Report and a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit