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STEP-UP Integrates Public Health and Cancer Research in an Out of State Career Exploratory Experience

Makayla Terry
Makayla Terry
Faculty Adviser(s)

Mortality caused by cancer is ranked number one in Arizona. Underrepresented groups living with cancer face social determinants of health that make it difficult to access cancer-related services. This research in cancer prevention and control was conducted through the Student Transformative Experiences to Progress Under-represented Professionals (STEP-UP) Program under the office of Community, Outreach, and Engagement at The University of Arizona. The Community Assessment Southern Arizona (CASA) recruitment survey aims to better understand how to screen, treat, and prevent cancer in the university’s Catchment area of five counties: Cochise, Pinal, Pima, Santa Cruz, and Yuma. However, Yuma and Pima county is where the recruitment survey launched. The objective of this research was to determine how best to engage and recruit individuals within the Catchment area to participate in the CASA recruitment survey through the development of community engagement strategies. Descriptive data was pulled from county and governmental websites such as the United States Census Bureau for 2020 and the Community Health Needs Assessment and then compiled in an updated county profile. Overall, the Catchment area is largely Hispanic at 39.4% and previous studies have shown success when the location of recruitment surveys matches the community of interest. A bilingual and face-to-face approach in electronic format was proposed for effective community engagement with Yuma and Pima County. This 12-week summer research opportunity was impactful towards reinforcing prior knowledge of public health and the dynamics of healthcare.


Makayla Terry is a senior majoring in Biochemistry at Salem College. She is a lover of learning, especially through the communication of her area of study. As President of American Chemical Society, she strives to make an impact on campus by sharing that passion of the sciences with other Salem sibs. After her time at Salem, she plans to gain work experience in clinical or laboratory settings to enhance her future profession in the health sciences.