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PHSU receives $398,854 grant to research cancer screening practices among Latin transgenders


The National Cancer Institute presented this significant funding to the Ponce Health Sciences University


The U.S. National Cancer Institute granted $398,854 to the Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU), to conduct a study with the goal of understanding the obstacles associated with cancer screening among Latin transgender individuals in Puerto Rico and Florida. The study, set to last two years, will be the first of its kind in Latin populations and is a collaboration between PHSU’s School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Florida International University’s Steven J. Green of International and Public Affairs, and The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, in San Francisco.

“Thanks to this contribution, and through this study, we will be able to document the obstacles for cervical and breast cancer screening among the Latin transgender population in Puerto Rico and Florida. These data will allow us to develop strategies to promote cervical and breast cancer prevention within this population,” said Dr. Alíxida G. Ramos-Pibernus, director of the Clinical Psychology’s PhD program at PHSU. Ramos-Pibernus also said that this study pushes forward the agenda to reduce the health disparities that the transgender community experiences.

Researchers will interview and survey Latin transgender individuals to document the obstacles associated to cancer screening. The data obtained will inform the development of interventions to reduce and overcome the obstacles identified. The research team is comprised of doctors Alíxida Ramos-Pibernus (Main Researcher; SBBS-PHSU), Sheilla L. Rodríguez-Madera (Main Researcher; SIPA-FIU); Eida Castro (Co-researcher; PHSU) Nelson Varas-Díaz (Co-researcher; SIPA-FIU), Torsten Neilands (Co-researcher; CAPS- UCSF), y Eliut Rivera-Segarra (Project Director, SBBS-PHSU).


According to Ramos-Pibernus, more than 1.7 million new cancer cases are diagnosed in the U.S. and its territories, 37% of which are breast and cervical cancers. Also, cancer is one of the main causes of death among Latins in this context. “In fact, in Puerto Rico and Florida, 18% and 22% of all deaths, respectively, are caused by this condition. Cancer screening is one of the most important behaviors to prevent the condition,” said Ramos-Pibernus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified that the LGBTT community is disproportionately impacted by cancer, and that transgender individuals within the community face notable disparities associated to this disease. Unfortunately, very little is known about the obstacles transgenders face to get cancer screening.

For more information, please contact the study’s main researchers, doctors Alíxida Ramos-Pibernus and Sheilla L. Rodríguez-Madera, via email, at either or

Ponce Health Sciences University is an academic institution focused on the disciplines of Medicine, Clinical Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, Public Health, and Nursing. Since 1977, it has developed highly capable professionals in the field of health care. Its newest academic center, in Santurce, offers a master’s program in Medical Sciences and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

To learn more about Ponce Health Sciences University, please call 787-840-2575, ext. 5724, or visit


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