Bettina Drake, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
(314) 747-4534


Research Overview
Bettina Drake is a cancer epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine and Siteman Cancer Center. Her research interests are in reducing disparities in cancer by focusing on cancer-prevention strategies through nutritional and community-based approaches. Currently, she is conducting community-based research through the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD) on minority recruitment into biorepository studies. In addition, she co-leads the Prostate Cancer Community Partnership, a community partnership of PECaD, which seeks to reduce prostate cancer disparities in the region. In addition to cancer prevention through community-based approaches, Dr. Drake has institutional and Department of Defense funds to research the benefits of vitamin D on prostate cancer. She is most interested in how her community-based work informs and strengthens her nutritional epidemiology findings. Information gained from community-based studies informs both study design and recruitment strategies. In turn, the results of the cancer prevention work can be disseminated in collaboration with community partners.


Ongoing Projects/Grants
Description: The goals of this project are to create a national model for eliminating disparities in cancer through community-based partnerships and community-based participatory research (CBPR); to increase access by breaking down barriers to quality cancer care; and to be a catalyst for change in our region by fostering healthy communities. The program includes a leadership core, community outreach component, full and pilot research projects, and a training program. 
Funding agency: NCI
Roles: Evaluation Lead; Leadership Core; Co-Leader Prostate Cancer Community Partnership


Description: Done in partnership with our prostate cancer community partnership, the goal of this project is to evaluate barriers to participation in prostate cancer tissue collection for research purposes (biorespository), position navigation/recruitment staff in clinics, and provide information to the community in collaboration with our partners.
Funding agency: NCI
Role: Project Lead

Title: Obesity and Vitamin D-related Effects on Prostate Cancer Recurrence
Description: This study is a nested case-control study that will assess the effects of pre-treatment vitamin D and leptin levels on prostate cancer recurrence. 
Funding agency: Washington University Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC)
Role: PI


Title: Cancer Risk Factors and Vitamin D Supplementation Among Blacks
Description: This study is a vitamin D supplementation trial of 4 levels (placebo, 1000IU, 2000IU, 4000IU) to determine the dosage of vitamin D that can get an individual’s blood levels to an optimal level.  
Funding agency: DF/HCC 
Role: Investigator
Project site: Harvard School of Public Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Title: Reducing Prostate Cancer Disparities Through Behavioral and Biologic Epidemiologic Approaches
Description: This award expands the work of the vitamin D supplementation trial currently in progress and will examine differences in PSA levels associated with vitamin D intake (oral supplementation in three doses) and uptake (plasma measured 25(OH)D) among Black men, at baseline, 3-, and 6-month follow-up.
Funding agency: Department of Defense, Health Disparity Training Award
Role: PI


Title: Breast Cancer Navigation
Description: PECaD investigators have partnered with a federally qualified health care center in St. Louis to enhance their breast cancer screening program. Evaluation is conducted on breast navigation and barriers among women to completing recommended screening. 
Funding agency: ARRA
Role: Investigator


Select Publications
Heiney SP, Adams SA, Drake BF, Bryant LH, Bridges LG, Hebert JR. Subject Recruitment for a Prostate Cancer Behavioral Trial. Clinical Trials, In Press, 2010.

Drake BF, Shelton RC, Gilligan T, Allen JD. A church-based intervention to promote informed decision-making for prostate cancer screening among African-American men. Journal of the National Medical Association. 2010;102(3):164-171.

Lathan C, Okechukwu C, Drake BF, Bennett GG. Racial differences in the perception of lung cancer: 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Cancer. 2010;15;116(8):1981-1986. Epub Feb 22, 2010. PMID: 20186766

Drake BF, Colditz GA. Assessing cancer prevention studies: A matter of time. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009;302(19):2152-2153. PMID: 19920243

Allen JD, Mohllajee AP, Shelton RC, Drake BF, Mars DR. A computer-tailored intervention to promote informed decision-making for prostate cancer screening among African-American men.  American Journal of Men’s Health. 2009 Dec:3(4):340-51. Epub 2008 Oct. 20. PMID: 19477736

Drake BF, Lathan C, Okechukwu C, Bennett GG. Racial Disparities in Prostate Cancer Screening and Family History. Annals of Epidemiology. 2008;18(7): 579-583. PMID: 18486487

Elder K, Drake BF, Wagner S, Hebert JR. Social and Clinical Influences of Prostate Cancer Treatment. Journal for Health Disparities Research and Practice. 2008;2(2): 125-131.  

Laditka SB, Laditka JN, Fisher-Drake B. Home and Community-Based Service Use among Older African American, Hispanic, and non Hispanic White Women and Men. Evidence-Based Interventions for Community Dwelling Older Adults. S.M. Enguidanos (ed.). New York: Haworth Press, 129-153, 2006.

Drake BF, Keane TE, Moseley CM, Adams SA, Elder KT, Modayil MV, Ureda JR, Hébert JR.  Prostate Cancer Disparities in South Carolina: Early Detection, Special Programs, and Descriptive Epidemiology. The Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association. 2006;102(7):241-249.  PMID: 17319238

Laditka SB, Laditka JN, Fisher-Drake B. Home and Community-Based Service Use among Older African American, Hispanic, and non Hispanic White Women and Men. Home Health Care Services Quarterly. 2006;25(3&4):129-153. PMID: 17062515