Michelle Williams, PH.D., M.S.P.H, M.P.H., MCHES

Assistant Professor


Project Title

A Multicomponent Lung Cancer Screening Awareness mHealth Intervention

Named Award

The Shure Family Charitable Foundation


Assistant Professor


George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.

My “Why”

I have a great passion for addressing preventable cancers. My family history of colorectal cancer is one of the driving forces behind my interest in cancer research.

My Mission

There are primary and secondary means for preventing several types of cancer. Getting cancer screenings, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking are some of the key preventive behaviors. I want EVERYONE to be aware of the importance of incorporating cancer prevention behaviors into their lifestyles, especially historically underserved populations who experience excessively high cancer incidence and mortality rates.

Research Overview

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Some populations have extremely high lung cancer death rates. For example, African American men in Mississippi have the highest lung cancer death rate in the nation. A screening test can be used to identify lung cancer at an early stage when treatment is most likely to be successful. When lung cancer is detected in its earliest stages, people have a much higher chance of surviving than when it is detected in later stages. However, the number of people who get yearly lung cancer screenings is very low. For example, only 6.5% of eligible people in the U.S. were screened for lung cancer in 2020.

There is an immediate need to increase routine lung cancer screening among high-risk populations. Currently, there is a lack of effective lung cancer screening awareness programs. Our project aims to increase knowledge about risk factors for lung cancer and promote lung cancer screening among high-risk populations in communities with high lung cancer death rates.

Our program will:

  • Include information about lung cancer, lung cancer screening and tools to help people quit smoking. 
  • Train community health workers (CHWs) to deliver the lung cancer screening awareness program and to help people make appointments for lung cancer screening.

The program participants will also receive personalized text messages to remind them about the importance of getting yearly lung cancer screenings, quitting smoking and staying away from cigarettes and tobacco. We will use a combination of research methods, such as surveys and interviews, to determine the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the program.

The results of this project will be used to help us develop a more rigorous assessment of the effectiveness of the CHW training program and the lung cancer screening awareness program. 

Why Funding Matters

Funding from the Prevent Cancer Foundation will enable me to identify the most effective ways of educating high-risk populations about lung cancer risk factors and lung cancer screening.
The funding will be a catalyst for future lung cancer education interventions that I aim to disseminate in communities with elevated lung cancer mortality rates.

My Hope

I hope that lung cancer screening rates will increase among high-risk individuals. The funding from the Prevent Cancer Foundation will enable me to design, implement and evaluate a lung cancer screening awareness intervention that can be scaled up and disseminated widely.
I hope that this intervention will disseminate though evidence-based intervention databases that provides access to effective public health interventions.