Healthy Nacogdoches seeking help from state institute

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has funded over 200 grants this year. Over $256-million has gone primarily to metropolitan areas. Why aren't East Texas programs receiving grants?

"It's definitely something you have to apply for," said Kinny Parker, with the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition.

So far applications have been submitted primarily by institutes like Baylor College of Medicine. Their valuable medical research benefits everyone indirectly, but the Healthy Nacogdoches coalition has a specific need of East Texans in mind.

"What we're looking at, at the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition, is applying for tobacco control prevention funds through this grant," said Parker.

"We know that Nacogdoches, and especially East Texas, has a higher rate of individuals that use tobacco products, so that's one area that we focus on tobacco, instead of cancer overall," explained Jessica Waguespack, a community health educator.

This will be the first time the coalition has applied for funding from the relatively new agency. Why not sooner?

"Our resources are limited for grant writers. There's not many of us. The ones that do write grants do it as another part of their jobs," said Parker.

The Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition ( )has until march to submit its application. Parker commented this should be ample time to collect the data the funding agency requires.

The Cancer Research and Prevention Institute ( ) is spreading the word across the state that it's accepting applications. The program was approved overwhelmingly through a constitutional amendment presented to all Texans, so the Nacogdoches applicants are hopeful every region of the state will be considered.

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