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Loyola DNP nursing professor part of $1.3 million colorectal cancer study

Loyola press release - January 22, 2013

Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing professor Laurie Anne Ferguson, D.N.P., A.P.R.N., F.N.P.-C., is an integral part of a five-year, innovative colorectal cancer study funded by a $1.3 million grant from the American Cancer Society. Ferguson is part of a team studying how people understand basic health information and services, and how that understanding—or lack of understanding—relates to patients getting screened for colorectal cancer.

Even though screening for colorectal bleeding is associated with detecting and preventing colon cancer early, many patients delay or avoid life-saving tests due to misinformation or misunderstanding.

“When patients understand what their health care choices are, it’s like a newfound freedom to them,” Ferguson said. “Limited health literacy is the same risk factor as having a chronic disease. We buy cars with more knowledge about our choices than people do in health care.”

Ferguson, who teaches nurse practitioner students in the Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs at the Loyola School of Nursing, will help coordinate the research project at Varnado Family Practice in Greensburg, La., and other rural clinics in southern Louisiana.

During the study, the team will work with 800 patients from the rural clinics. Participating patients will receive a special test used to detect blood in the stool, which could indicate a health issue or even colorectal cancer. Patients will be compensated for their participation.

Ferguson and her team will assess various strategies to urge patients to complete screening tests. Those strategies range from personal contact methods to a plain-language automated reminder system. The team will also focus on how patients’ knowledge, beliefs and self-worth relate to initial and annual colorectal cancer screening.

“Ferguson and her colleagues are addressing prevention and screening strategies that will improve the health of Louisiana citizens and ultimately global populations. We are proud of the partnership and inter-professional team efforts represented in this grant to improve the health of the public,” said Ann H. Cary, Ph.D., M.P.H, R.N., professor and director or the School of Nursing.

Other members on the team include, principal investigator Connie Arnold, Ph.D., co-principal investigator Terry Davis, Ph.D., and Dr. James Morris of the LSU Health Sciences Center - Shreveport. Alfred W. Rademaker, Ph.D., and Michael Wolf, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Northwestern University along with Dr. Dean Schillinger of the University of California San Francisco are also on the team.


About Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing:

The Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing offers online degrees for RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN, MSN in HCSM, and the Post BS-to-DNP and Post Masters-to-DNP. Loyola’s nursing program is based on Jesuit values and educates professional nurses to lead change and translate science into practice in a dynamic global health care environment. Loyola’s School of Nursing is consistently ranked by both U.S. News and World Report and thebestcolleges.org as one of the premier nursing schools in the country. The online graduate nursing programs at Loyola—the Master of Science in Nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice—are ranked in the top six graduate nursing online programs in the U.S. by the U.S. News & World Report 2013 rankings. For more information about the nursing online programs, including application requirements, visit the Loyola School of Nursing website.

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LoyNews is an e-newswire produced by the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs. LoyNews is distributed weekly to local, regional and national news media outlets, communicating the latest news and accomplishments of the university and its community.