Valenti students take part in the making of a video that encourages African American women to take their breast cancer medication

Valenti students who worked on the video

In partnership with the College of Pharmacy and the School of Theatre and Dance, Valenti School of Communications students helped to create a video to encourage African American women to take their breast cancer medication.

The video titled “Worth the Fight” is based on a study that led to the College of Pharmacy earning a pilot grant to cover research and raise awareness of the need for Black and African American women to take their medication for breast cancer treatment.

14 Valenti students, along with those studying at the School of Theatre and Dance and the College of Pharmacology put forth their efforts and plan to complete future projects with grant funding after the finished product came with this one.

The production of the video lasted three days. Media production senior Annelysse Lopez worked on the set for “Worth the Fight” and described the environment as friendly with good energy.

“I think the impact that this short will have is very positive,” Lopez said. “It’s encouraging but not insistent. I really hope we’re able to get this out to our target audience.”

The video will be distributed to a breast cancer clinic in the Harris Health System. After the video airs, participants will be asked to complete a survey to indicate its usefulness. The data collected from this will help the researchers in a larger study.

The goal of the “Worth the Fight” video is for the information to be displayed and played at doctor’s offices in the Houston area, ensuring the patients get the message the video is conveying based on the research.

This pilot project is funded by the RCMI grant from National Institute on Minority Health and Diseases, according to associate professor of pharmacology and director of Clinical and Translational Research Programs Meghana Trivedi.

“Our previous research has shown that patients with low socioeconomic status have lower adherence to medication used in prevention and treatment of breast cancer,” Trivedi said. “Even among these patients, African Americans have the lowest adherence. These findings have guided us in pursuing developing and testing new interventions that are patient-centered and culturally sensitive to help improve adherence to medications that can help save lives.”

Trivedi said this is the first time in her career she is branching out from the STEM field and bringing arts and humanities into her research.

“The main reason to do team science is to gain additional expertise, and this project is no different. The research project of creating the educational video would not have been possible without the experiences of Professors Shimko and Houk and their connections in the field,” Trivedi said. “Now, I am a big proponent of STEAM not STEM field.”

Alongside the students working on this project, UH Theatre alumnus and television and film actor Brett Cullen offered some expertise in video-making and the shooting process, as well as Valenti alumnus Orlando Briones who worked as the cinematographer.

“It was great to work on a project within the walls of where I got started in my field. It was also inspiring to see so many young and eager people that are starting their careers in this field,” Briones said.

After the shooting process, the director of the video shoot and Valenti professor Keith Houk distributed roses to the crew and congratulated everyone on a job well done.

Letting students work on set acted as a learning opportunity too. Media Production senior Rachel Dsouza said she enjoyed working with advanced technology and liked learning about certain equipment, such as the professionally built dollys.

“I believe the video will encourage those with a high risk of cancer to seek treatment in order to prevent or reduce risk,” Dsouza said. “And the title of the video says it all, it's to tell everyone that it is worth the fight to get treatment.”