Skip to nav Skip to content

Moffitt researchers who work with community members

Bringing Together Moffitt Researchers, Community Members and Patients

The Moffitt Patient Researcher Forum aims to give patients and caregivers an insider view of current research on their specific cancer type and to educate basic researchers about the clinical management of specific cancer types, and importantly, the personal cancer journeys of the patients and caregivers. During the Forum, the patient and caregiver take a tour of the dry and wet labs while researchers attend a clinical course facilitated by a clinician that specializes in the cancer that the patient has. The second component of the Forum is a roundtable discussion where everyone convenes in which researchers share their work and personal cancer connection and the patient and caregiver tell their cancer journey from the date of diagnosis to the present time. If you would like to learn about the many ways to partner with Moffitt, including sharing your story, please email  

TBCCN's Ask the Scientist ProgramTBCCN’s Ask the Scientist

Ask the Scientist educational sessions feature experts in the field and open discussions in an effort to increase awareness and knowledge about relevant cancer topics and health disparities research in a community-based setting for community members.


Researcher CornerU54 Researcher Corner

Research Corner sessions take place quarterly during U54 Partnership- Community Advisory Panel meetings. Investigators share research that is planned or in progress and obtain community input, in addition to sharing research findings.


B-Great team membersBreast Cancer Genetics Research and Education for African American Women Team (B-GREAT)

B-GREAT is an academic and community-based initiative co-founded in 2002 to address breast cancer health disparities in African American women in Florida. Specifically, the team seeks to educate African American women about hereditary breast cancer and help to guide research to understand why African American women are more likely to develop breast cancer at younger ages, develop more biologically aggressive forms, and die from breast cancer, compared to women from other races and ethnicities. Team members include breast cancer survivors, religious leaders, health care professionals, and patient advocates that provide breast cancer education and information to African American communities.

Catchment Area Funding Opportunities

Check back soon for funding opportunities!

Research at Moffitt

The community serves an important role in shaping the research we do at Moffitt. Our researchers are committed to addressing cancers and risk factors that are most important to the community we serve. Sometimes community members or organizations identify the need for the project, in others they may serve as trusted advisors, and sometimes they provide a critical partnership to conduct the study. The studies below are a few examples:

AIDS Malignancy Consortium logoAMC (AIDS Malignancy Consortium) 

What is AMC?

Moffitt is now a site for the AIDS Malignancy Consortium, a network sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The goal of the AMC is to evaluate promising cancer therapies and prevention strategies specifically among PLWH. 

Why is this study important?

Florida has one of the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses in the U.S., and among persons living with HIV (PLWH), cancer is now the second leading cause of death. However, PLWH has historically been excluded from clinical trials of new cancer therapies, including new treatment approaches that have shown promise (e.g., immunotherapy).

PLWH Catchment Area Data

CDC Figure

How is the community involved?

A working group comprised of community partners focused on PLWH is being formed as part of the Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network (TBCCN). Moffitt-affiliated AMC researchers will meet with this working group to help shape the direction of research to address the unique needs of PLWH.

How do I get more information?

Individuals with both HIV and cancer who may be eligible for enrollment onto one of the AMC trials are encouraged to speak with their HIV care provider.

AMC-095, a Phase I immunotherapy study for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery. Immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies, such as ipilimumab and nivolumab, may help the body's immune system attack the cancer and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread.

AMC-092, a Phase II trial to study using a surgery-only approach to treat patients with anal canal or perianal cancer that is small and has not spread deeply into the tissues. Local surgery may be a safer treatment with fewer side effects than bigger surgery or radiation and chemotherapy.

People Living With HIV (PLWH) Workgroup Fact Sheet (pdf)

For more information, please contact us at

CARES-REACH (Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Research, and Education and Screening-Rural Expansion, Access and Capacity for Health) 

CARES pamphletsWhat is CARES-REACH?

The CARES- REACH study seeks to expand access to colorectal cancer (CRC) screening and improve screening rates in community clinics. Prior work has shown that screening rates can be improved by using a simple home stool test - Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). However, rates often drop over time over time. So, CARES-REACH focuses on initial and repeat CRC screening over time.

Why is this study important?

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the U.S. Screening tests help to find cancer before signs or symptoms appear. This makes cancer screening so important.

A key part of the study is to evaluate what methods and which components are most effective, what works best, and how they work together even better. This includes 1) low literacy patient education, 2) provider education, 3) system-wide electronic medical record (EMR), and 4) the use of a Cancer Control Champion.

How is the community involved?

CARES-REACH partners include: 1) Central Florida Health Care (CFHC) and 2) Manatee County Rural (MCR) Health Services. Both partner organizations have clinics located in rural counties as designated per State of Florida as well as in urban areas. A total of 14 clinic locations across five counties serve as the settings for CARES-REACH (Polk, DeSoto, Highlands, Hardee and Manatee counties).

What did researchers learn about the community?

Learning from each other is very important as ideas are shared with a common goal of improved community health. Researchers have learned that community partners are the best ones to tell them the health concerns in their communities. In fact, the idea for CARES-REACH came right from a TBCCN community partners who expressed the need for better access to CRC screening for men and women. 

Libre del cigarrillo logoLibre del Cigarillo 

What is Libre del Cigarillo?

Libre del Cigarillo was created to develop self-help education materials (booklets and pamphlets) to quit cigarettes for Hispanic smokers who prefer to receive health information in Spanish. Materials were developed to include Hispanic culture and values (such as the importance of family). These materials were tested to make sure they were useful and successful at helping Hispanics smokers to quit.

How is the community involved?

A cultural advisory board was established, which offered support to the study goals. The community partners included Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network (TBCCN), in addition to partnerships with researchers from universities in southwest states with large Hispanic populations (e.g. Texas, New Mexico, California, and Arizona).

Community partners connected the team with local networks to help recruit Hispanic smokers throughout the country and helped with the recruitment plans, in addition to the design of advertisements and study materials.

How do I get more information?

Recruitment for this study has concluded and findings are currently being analyzed. Once the results are obtained, they will be shared with the community. If the intervention is effective, researchers look forward to sharing the intervention with the community to help smokers quit.

Impact Me pamphletIMPACT-ME (Increasing My Protection Against Cancer Today)

What is IMPACT-ME?

The melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) plays a major role in the production of skin color, and several factors in MC1R are indicators for increased risk of skin cancers. This study seeks to see if knowledge of these MC1R factors can lead to skin cancer prevention activities among Hispanics/Latinx.

Why is this study important?

Although the lifetime risk of skin cancers, including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma, is lower among Hispanics/Latinx living in the United States and Puerto Rico than among white non-Hispanics, the number of skin cancer cases is increasing. Hispanics/Latinx have poorer overall survival from melanoma because they are diagnosed at a later stage. A large number of Hispanics/Latinx do not use sun protective behaviors, this is concerning because of the UV radiation (sun rays) in Florida and Puerto Rico. Increasing skin cancer prevention activities—such as spending less time in the sun, having more sun-protection behaviors, reducing the amount of sunburns, avoiding indoor tanning, and examining all parts of the body for concerning or changing skin lesions—can help to reduce the rising number of skin cancers in Hispanics/Latinx.

How is the community involved in this study?

IMPACT-ME worked with the Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network to establish a collaboration with the Brandon and Palm River Suncoast Community Health Centers. Through this partnership, researchers were able to increase the number of clinics for study enrollment and offer study participation to a broad range of Hispanics/Latinx living in the Tampa Bay area.

What did researchers learn about the community?

Community support and collaboration are important to help lower and end health disparities. Partnership with the community provides the opportunity to support important prevention behaviors in communities that may feel hesitant to seek preventive and other health services. It opens lines of communication not only among care providers at different institutions, but importantly with patients and members of underrepresented groups for whom valuable preventive information may not be immediately available or within their reach.

Ponce Health Sciences University-Moffitt Cancer Center (PHSU-MCC) Partnership

What is the PHSU-MCC Partnership?

The PHSU-MCC Partnership is a National Cancer Institute grant-funded partnership with the mission to eliminate cancer-related health disparities affecting Hispanics. The Partnership includes research across the entire cancer continuum, outreach to the community, and training of the next generation of cancer disparities researchers and clinicians.

Ponce Health Sciences TeamWhat is the goal of the study important?

The Partnership focuses on developing and improving cancer care outcomes for Hispanics in Puerto Rico and Florida by enhancing cancer care, personalized medicine, participation in clinical research and understanding the underlying basic mechanisms of cancer.

How is the community involved?

The Partnership is guided by a Community Advisory Panel that represents the patient, health care providers, and community organization perspective. They serve as connectors to the community, help to guide outreach activities, and create opportunities for researchers to present ideas and progress for community feedback.

What did researchers learn about the community?

The community is at the heart of each project and event developed. They are enthusiastic supporters and advocates of the work that the Partnership does. Their feedback is critical to ensuring that what is done is meaningful and relevant to their priorities.

How do I get more information?

To learn more about the different projects and cores, please visit our website:

To receive up-to-date educational information and upcoming events in Tampa, visit the Facebook page 

Project Pantry ProgramProject Pantry

What is the Project Pantry?

The goal of the study is to partner with a large social service network to evaluate the success and economic impact of a theoretically based, fully automated, interactive smartphone-based smoking cessation intervention. Project Pantry will work with Feeding Tampa Bay (FTB) to identify eligible smokers attending food pantry locations in the Tampa Bay area. Participants will be randomized to receive either standard treatment through Tobacco Free Florida or the mobile phone automated intervention.

One way to expand access to tobacco smoking cessation programs to the larger population of under-served smokers is through establishing community-based partnerships with social service networks. Another key need is the development and evaluation of long-term, low-cost evidence-based smoking cessation interventions. Given the common use of mobile phones, using them to deliver a tobacco cessation program to under-served smokers is promising.

Why is this study important? Individuals with low socioeconomic status are more likely to smoke and are less likely to successfully quit. Smoking is a risk factor that contributes to differences in the incidence and mortality of smoking-related diseases. Therefore, connecting under-served smokers with limited resources to successful tobacco cessation programs is important for disease prevention and the elimination of health disparities.

How is the community involved?

The intervention will be delivered and tested among smokers through a partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay. Feeding Tampa Bay is part of the national Feeding America network and focuses on providing food to the more than 700,000 hungry people in the 10-county area of West Central Florida.

What did researchers learn about the community?

Researchers learned that individuals seeking services at food pantries smoke at high rates but are very interested in quitting. In addition, the usual types of smoking cessation treatments that involve going to a clinic or talking to someone on the phone can be difficult to access and use.

Project Resource IconsProject RESOURCE

What is the Project RESOURCE?

The goal of this project is to determine if the mobile phone automated program perform better, in terms of aiding in long-term smoking abstinence, than the standard treatment approach through Tobacco Free Florida. If successful, the mobile phone automated approach will be available for various HIV clinic and community-based organizations and offer a better way to share limited public health resources with tobacco control interventions.

Why is this study important?

Modern HIV therapy has brought about improved life expectancies for persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH). However, the effort to reduce heart disease and cancer in this population remains an important public health priority. One of the most effective ways to prevent these diseases in PLWH would be to reduce cigarette smoking. Despite the significant need, few smoking cessation trials with PLWH appear in the literature. Thus, efforts to develop and evaluate long-term, low-cost evidence-based cessation programs for smokers with HIV are needed.

Given the common use of mobile phones, the potential of using mHealth applications to improve the reach and success of cessation interventions in this population is promising. There is a critical need for successful, cost-effective, and sustainable cessation treatments for PLWH who smoke tobacco. Project RESOURCE has been designed to help fill this need.

How is the community involved?

Project RESOURCE partnered with smokers living with HIV across the state of Florida.

What did researchers learn about the community?

Researchers have learned that individuals living with HIV experience unique barriers related to quitting smoking. These individuals also experience barriers to participating in existing smoking cessation treatment programs. In addition, although motivation to quit is high in this population, motivation to quit tends to change over the course of their HIV disease.