Scherezade Mama to lecture on physical activity in underserved populations


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Mike Brown

Could fighting cancer really be as simple as getting active?

Scherezade Mama, Penn State assistant professor and researcher, is coming to Iowa State on Thursday, March 1, to promote physical activity in underserved communities.

The lecture, titled “Physical Activity Promotion in Underserved Populations” is taking place in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union at 7p.m.

Mama is a public health researcher and wants to find ways to encourage and bring physical health programs to groups on a more broad scale.

“I would say that as a public health researcher I’m trying to have a population level impact on health, or do the greatest amount of good for a population,” said Mama.

Mama offered a concise vision of what she would like her work to accomplish.

“Instead of a very prescribed program that only works for one person, my goal would be to implement a program or develop a program that would be shared and spread to have the greatest good within a population,” said Mama. “Whether that is a community group, all African Americans, or all rural adults, or all cancer survivors.”

Mama’s lecture at Iowa State details physical activity promotion racial and ethnic minorities and rural adults, as that is where the majority of her research has been focused, as well as the benefits that come from physical activity.

Mama studies and works with underrepresented groups to find what strategies can best promote physical activity and health within their communities.

“Broadly, [the lecture] talks about the role of physical activity in cancer prevention and survivorship,” Mama said. “There are these different mechanisms that are proposed, like how physical inactivity leads to increased cancer risk and increased cancer recurrence.”

Mama will also discuss the ways she has had to adapt and change the presentation of her physical activity promotion based on the different groups she works with, as well as speaking about her more current work involving cancer prevention and survivorship.

Mama says she feels lectures like the one she is holding at Iowa State are extremely important to raise awareness among the public in regards to physical activity, health inequity and cancer prevention.

“I would say my goal is to increase awareness around health disparities and health inequities related to physical activity specifically as they’re related to cancer prevention all the way through survivorship.” said Mama