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We are thrilled to extend our warmest congratulations to Drs. Hung-Jui (Ray) Tan and Ibardo Zambrano on receiving the “Promoting Clinical Research in Southeastern NC” award. This award will fund their submitted research pilot program, titled “Reducing disparities in prostate cancer counseling and care through visual decision support.”

The “Promoting Clinical Research in Southeastern NC” award, presented by RAC, serves as a testament to the commitment of research leaders from Novant Health, Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NH-NHRMC), the University of North Carolina Health Care System (UNC Health), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine (UNC SOM). By fostering collaboration between principal investigators and team members from these esteemed institutions, the award aims to advance community health and wellness, enhance access to high-quality healthcare, and promote health equity in southeastern North Carolina.

“We are honored and excited to be partnering with Dr. Zambrano and Novant Health. Together with Dr. Butler in the Gillings School of Public Health, we will work to improve how historically disadvantaged patients are counseled for their prostate cancer, particularly Black men and those living in the rural Southeastern region of NC.”

Hung-Jui (Ray) Tan, MD, MSHPM
Director of Urologic Oncology
Urologic Oncology Fellowship Program Director
Associate Professor of Urology


Drs. Tan and Zambrano’s project represents an exciting milestone in their research journey. Dr. Tan, with his expertise and commitment to advancing healthcare communication, previously received a Mentored Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society in 2020. This grant enabled him to enhance the visual designs of health information technology to effectively communicate critical data to surgeons.

Moreover, in 2021, Dr. Tan and a team of experts were honored with an Idea Development Award from the United States’ Department of Defense for their groundbreaking study, “Personalizing kidney cancer communication to support patient-centered decision-making.” This collaborative effort aimed to improve patient decision-making experiences through tailored communication, and Dr. Tan led a multidisciplinary team of faculty experts from across the university.

Dr. Zambrano, a recent graduate of the UNC Urologic Oncology Fellowship program, who has now joined Novant Health, once again teams up UNC Urology. His presence at Novant Health further strengthens the multi-site approach of the research program, ensuring its potential to positively impact a larger patient population.

By leveraging visual decision aids to support prostate cancer counseling – Drs. Tan and Zambrano hope to improve health equity for black men and reduce the imbalance in the ways risks and benefits of surgery are communicated between urologists and their patient. This will hopefully lead to more informed and accurate decision making by patients and providers and remove a potential source of inequity in the management of prostate cancer.