Lakeshia Cousin, Ph.D., APRN, AGPCNP-BC, named assistant director for community outreach and engagement

Lakeshia Cousin, Ph.D., APRN, AGPCNP-BC, an accomplished community-based cancer prevention and control researcher, has been named assistant director for community outreach and engagement at the UF Health Cancer Center.

Lakeshia Cousin, Ph.D., APRN, AGPCNP-BC

An adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, Cousin will also serve as clinical director of the Cancer Center’s mobile mammography unit, set to launch this fall.

Cousin, an assistant professor in the department of family, community and health systems science in the UF College of Nursing, will work closely with the Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) and community scientists to identify health education needs in the communities the center serves and form responsive plans.

She will develop and strengthen partnerships with community organizations, health networks and government agencies. Through the center’s mobile outreach efforts, Cousin will facilitate community events that deliver cancer screenings and health education.

“Dr. Cousin’s research focuses on cancer prevention and control, especially improving cancer screening and survivorship, and developing culturally relevant interventions to address cancer-related disparities,” said Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., associate director for community outreach and engagement at the Cancer Center. “Her research focus and track record of community-engaged research are in perfect alignment with the objectives of COE, and we are looking forward to having her expertise as we execute the Cancer Center’s strategic plan.”

Two women dressed in pink sit in chairs to lead a discussion group while two other people look on.
Lakeshia Cousin, Ph.D., PhD, APRN, AGPCNP-BC, center, speaks during a group discussion at the Power Over Breast Cancer Gathering on Oct. 21, 2023, at Springhill Church. (Photo by Nate Guidry)

At the Cancer Center, Cousin is a member of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences research program and the Scientific Review and Monitoring Committee. She also partners with the Community-Partnered Cancer Disparities Research Collaborative and has extensive experience organizing community events, including the successful Power Over Cancer gatherings.

“My research expertise in survivorship and breast cancer screening and prevention, combined with my clinical experience delivering patient care in community settings, equips me to effectively develop outreach initiatives, engage community partners, and lead efforts to reduce the cancer burden and improve health outcomes in the area the Cancer Center serves,” Cousin said.

In her new leadership role, Cousin said she is looking forward to facilitating impactful cancer-related events to ensure high-risk, underserved people have access to essential care and resources.

“My goal is to strengthen existing partnerships and cultivate new ones to advance the COE’s mobile outreach mission, with a focus on reaching untouched areas,” she said. “This approach aligns with our commitment to reducing disparities in cancer outcomes and promoting health equity across our community.”

A woman delivers a presentation at the Cardio-Oncology Symposium
Lakeshia Cousin, Ph.D., APRN, AGPCNP-BC, investigates how resilience factors can enhance spiritual and physical well-being, which includes improving physical activity, reducing stress, and bolstering immune health to reduce cardiometabolic risk among breast cancer survivors. (Photo by Jesse Jones)

Cousin’s significant scientific contributions include developing culturally relevant interventions that align with the science of behavioral change model, focusing on understanding and influencing health behaviors through a comprehensive lens that incorporates biological, psychological, and social factors. She investigates how resilience factors, such as gratitude, spirituality, and self-efficacy, can enhance spiritual and physical well-being, which includes improving physical activity, reducing stress, and bolstering immune health to reduce cardiometabolic risk among breast cancer survivors.

Cousin also serves as an editorial board member of Seminars in Oncology Nursing, an international oncology nursing research journal, and co-chairs the Health Equity Special Interest Group of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.


Mobile mammography unit

With a $1.5-million grant awarded through University of Florida President Ben Sasse’s strategic funding initiative and matching funds from the UF Health Cancer Center, the center will launch an initiative called Expanding Access to Breast Cancer Screening in North Central Florida. A mobile mammography unit will be outfitted with leading-edge technology to bring services directly to the community. The unit will be the first of its kind in North Central Florida – a region larger than Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut combined.

a wide angle photo of the mobile mammography unit under construction.
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