Colorectal Cancer Project
VERG Researchers: Andrew Maxim & Rashi Ghosh
Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death, yet can be caught early on and addressed via screening. Additionally, many people are under the misconception that a colonoscopy is the only way to screen for cancer. With these barriers in mind, the CRC project aims to use virtual humans to educate low-to-moderate risk adults about potential screening options, with an emphasis on FIT (fecal immunochemical testing). We especially focus on groups that experienced increased health disparities, specifically racial/ethnic minority, Spanish-language preference, and rural patients.
We collaborate closely with the College of Journalism for the CRC project. Our intervention involves virtual humans of various demographics (Black, Hispanic, White; female, male) to cater to our diverse patient population. After completing their interaction with the virtual human, they are asked if they want to get screened (if qualified). Our collaborators follow up by sending them a FIT test. The neat part about this project is the real world impact — real people have interacted with our virtual humans, real people have gotten screened, and real people have taken steps to fight colorectal cancer!