Research Opportunity: Mind Over Matter (MOM) for Black & African American Women

Enrollment for this study is now closed.

Email for more information.


Managing cancer is hard.  Strong, difficult feelings are normal and are part of every life. And, strong feelings are certainly part of a life lived with cancer. You can learn tools to help yourself cope. Research has shown that Black and African American cancer survivors may have higher levels of distress. Inova Life with Cancer has developed a program called Mind Over Matter (MOM) which is designed to teach coping skills to participants to help manage the feelings and side effects associated with an experience of cancer, including diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.

This study will explore if Mind Over Matter (MOM) is acceptable to Black and African American women who have received a cancer diagnosis and have completed primary treatment.  The feedback that is gained from this study will help guide the future development and improvement of MOM.

Please note, this entire research study will be offered online.  There will be no in-person meetings or sessions.

Here is information that we hope will help you decide if you would like to join this study.

Why is the study happening?

The purpose of this research is to explore if Mind Over Matter (MOM) is feasible and acceptable to Black and African American women managing cancer.  MOM is a 5-week group program designed to teach tools to manage challenging feelings and will be offered online/virtually for this study. Supporting one’s emotional well-being has also been tied to supporting physical well-being.  The hope is that this study will provide the foundation for further improvements to MOM before it moves into the next steps of research with participants around the country.

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Why participate?

Participant feedback is important in developing programs to support people from all backgrounds and cultures who are managing cancer.  In a lot of research, the participants are typically White, which means there is not very much feedback from those who are not White. It is imperative that feedback on interventions comes from diverse populations and communities that have been marginalized/traditionally underrepresented. For this study, we want to learn from Black and African American women who have cancer and have completed treatment.

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About Mind Over Matter (MOM)

MOM is a 5-session program which uses evidence-based strategies to help decrease feelings of anxiety and depression and increase a sense of well-being. MOM will be offered virtually/online and will be run by two licensed clinical social workers with expertise in managing the emotions and experiences common in an experience of cancer.  Each week new tools will be introduced and practiced; therefore weekly attendance is expected. In this study, MOM will be offered in the evening (the same time each week) and will run on the same day of the week for the whole program. In a preliminary study, MOM has shown to decrease anxiety, depression, the severity of physical symptoms, and how physical symptoms interfere with everyday life.

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What happens if I say “yes, I want to participate in this research”?

Your participation in this research will involve:

  • completing a one-hour orientation where you will learn what to expect, complete your initial study survey, and get oriented to the online platform (Microsoft Teams), and ask any questions you may have.
  • completing MOM (5 weekly sessions that are 1 ½ hours each) with some practice between sessions encouraged.
  • completing a survey two times (known as a pre-test/post-test).  These help the research team know if the program is practical and useful to the participants.

 There is also optional session that you may attend:

  • An optional 1 ½ hour focus group at the end of the weekly sessions.  This is where the feedback from participants can be shared with the research team.

 The MOM group will have up to 12 people participating at a time.

This will all happen over the course of about 7 weeks if there are no breaks for holidays or other events. You can expect to spend a minimum of 11 hours completing all the parts of the study.

For more information about the Intervention and the study, see the Frequently Asked Questions.

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What else should I know about this research?

Here is some other important information to consider as you decide whether to participate in this research:

  • MOM is a group program that will take place using online meetings. We value your trust and privacy and will do all we can to protect your confidentiality. We will go into more detail about confidentiality in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). However, confidentiality can’t be guaranteed in any group program.
  • Because MOM will be offered online for this study, you will need access to a computer with a camera, and reliable internet to participate.
  • As a token of appreciation, a $50 Target gift card will be offered for those who complete the pre and post survey and 4 to 5 MOM sessions and an additional $10 Target gift card will be offered for those who participate in the focus group.

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Eligibility Information

  • Self-identifies as Black or African American,
  • Self-identifies as female or a woman
  • Having received a diagnosis and treatment for any type of cancer
  • Having completed primary treatment (completed chemotherapy and/or radiation and/or surgery)
  • 18 years of age and older
  • Able to understand and provide valid informed consent prior to any study procedure
  • Access to the internet and email
  • Being able to speak and understand written and spoken English

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Next Steps

Enrollment for this study is now closed. Email for additional information. For more information on managing feelings and accessing support please see the resources below.

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From our Partners:

Inova Life with Cancer– Helping you and your loved ones live well with cancer, through free programs and support.

Howard University – Access to the SEEDS (Support, Education, Encouragement, and Determination to Succeed) Support Group. 

VCU Massey Integrative Health Program– blogs, newsletters, and recorded webinars that focus on mental and physical wellness

Tigerlily Foundation Mental Health Toolkit– discussion of breast cancer and mental health

Other Resources:

There are many local and national resources to help a person through a cancer diagnosis.  These resources can help with many dimensions of a cancer diagnosis including psychological/emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, and other domains.  Because resource availability can change on a regular basis and new resources are popping up all the time, we suggest you reach out to the social worker at your cancer center to be connected with the most up to date relevant resources for your specific needs.  We have also listed a few resources below, that you might find helpful:

Triage Cancer

Providing free education on the practical and legal issues that arise after a cancer diagnosis.

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society offers programs and services to help you during and after cancer treatment. They can also help you find other free or low-cost resources available.

Cancer Support Community

Support to navigate every aspect of your cancer.

Cancer & Careers

Cancer and Careers empowers and educates people with cancer to thrive in their workplace, by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events.



Cure Magazine: Four Tips for Living with Cancer Anxiety

Psychology Today: Why Labeling Emotions Matters

What’s My Stage Again: The Not Knowing

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