As Director of the Education Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, Dr. Meade is active in research involving development of culturally, linguistically, and literacy relevant cancer communications, creation of community-based breast health initiatives for priority and at-risk populations, and development of innovative cancer education and training programs to increase the number of researchers from underrepresented groups. Other research interests center on evaluating behavioral and educational interventions for stress management training for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy, preventing smoking relapse through a series of communications, and understanding the clinical trial process. Moreover, Dr. Meade is working closely with researchers from the Puerto Rico Cancer Center to develop cancer communications for Hispanic and low-literacy populations.
Dr. Meade was one of the first investigators to conduct studies relating to literacy and to host a weekly cable television health show. These experiences spurred her to combine educational principles such as participant-focused methodologies and emerging technologies for developing low-literacy materials with relevant cancer communications. Practical aspects of this work have been published widely to help professionals develop easy-to-understand printed and electronic educational materials. She has contributed widely to national awareness of the impact of literacy in health care through her efforts on National Cancer Institute (NCI) work groups relating to cancer and literacy and informed consent in cancer clinical trials. Currently, she serves on the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Health Literacy.
Dr. Meade is principal investigator of the Avon-funded breast outreach program to reach Hispanic migrant and seasonal farmworker and rural low-income women. This program, recognized as a 'model program' by Avon, reaches over 1,000 women each year with screening mammography and education. Future community-based investigations aim to explore sociocultural influences on breast cancer screening and health promotion behaviors and to examine ways to reach the adult learner with cancer control messages.
In response to national priorities to foster development of cancer research scientists to reduce the disproportionate burden of cancer among racial and ethnic minorities and to address the intersection of cancer, culture, and literacy, Dr. Meade has developed multiple cancer training and education programs. Such initiatives are built on the theoretical tenets of mentoring, collaboration, and partnerships. They include marshalling a biennieal national conference titled Cancer, Culture and Literacy ; providing leadership for the Cancer, Culture and Literacy Institute, an NCI R25 education and training project for doctorally prepared cancer control researchers; and directing Project LINK (Leaders In New Knowledge), an NCI-funded program that offers mentored research experiences for high school and undergraduate students from groups that are underrepresented in scientific fields. A key aspect of Dr. Meade's research and education philosophy is the belief that strong interdisciplinary collaborations, cultivation of sustained community partnerships, and involvement of participants throughout the development of educational and research processes are key to the creation of effective and usable programs and interventions.