Cancer Control & Population Science

Program Leaders:  Linda Cook, PhD, and Shiraz I. Mishra, MBBS, PhD

Cancer Control and Population Sciences (CCPS) is a transdisciplinary research program incorporating expertise in surveillance, epidemiology, population genetics, anthropology, behavioral science, health economics, dissemination and implementation research, biostatistics, health services, and environmental health across the cancer continuum.

CCPS serves as the nexus for cancer control and population/community research within the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UNMCCC) and it’s catchment area, the State of New Mexico (NM) - one of the five ”majority-minority” states in the US. The catchment area’s racial/ethnic diverse population have substantial socioeconomic, healthcare, and geographic challenges, all contributing to tremendous cancer disparities and inequities.

Within this context of the catchment area, the overarching goals of CCPS are to conduct high-impact research and disseminate interventions to reduce cancer risk, morbidity, mortality and disparity in the multiethnic, culturally diverse, and underserved populations of NM and beyond.

To achieve these goals CCPS proposes three specific aims:

  1. improve cancer risk prediction and reduce cancer risk;
  2. define screening determinants and advance guideline concordant cancer screening; and,
  3. define the treatment and behavioral determinants of living with, through, and beyond cancer to improve outcomes, patient well-being, and length of survival.

These aims are aligned with two central themes, disparities and interventions, which provide a context and framework for addressing the needs of the catchment area and beyond.

Unique strengths and major accomplishments include:

  • early-detection methylation biomarkers associated with lung cancer risk;
  • prospective assessment of the impact of HPV vaccination on cervical cancer incidence;
  • engagement of American Indian communities to enhance colorectal cancer screening and molecular characterization of cancer; and,
  • care transition from oncologists to primary care in rural NM supported by UNM’s Project ECHOTM.

CCPS is led by Linda Cook, PhD, (molecular epidemiology) and Shiraz Mishra, MBBS, PhD, (behavioral /community interventions). CCPS has 29 members (24 Full, 5 Associate) from

  • 6 Departments in the School of Medicine (Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family & Community Medicine, Pathology, and Dermatology);
  • the Colleges of Population Health, Pharmacy, and Arts and Sciences (Departments of Engineering and Earth & Planetary Sciences); and
  • the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.

As of 9/1/2020, CCPS has $17.5M in total annual direct funding; $11.1M is peer-reviewed, and $2.5M is from the NCI. Additionally, CCPS has $2.7M in annual NCI direct funding through the NCI SEER contract for the New Mexico Tumor Registry and CCSG Supplements.

Over the last five years, the discoveries made in CCPS have resulted in 336 publications, of which 24% were intra-programmatic collaborations, 20% were inter-programmatic collaborations, 60% were collaborations with other cancer centers nationally, and 12% were published in high impact journals. During the same time period, CCPS conducted 28 intervention studies with 1629 participants.


Cancer Control Researchers