The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant Applicants for 2020 requested more than $4.1 million. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic and Translational Research and Clinical Research Evaluated 111 applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded Research Grants totaling more than $860,000 to support 24 plastic surgery research proposals.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

Breast Reconstruction Among African American Women: A Qualitative Investigation of Factors Influencing Reconstruction Decisions

Principal Investigator
Andrea Pusic MD, MHS, FACS, FRCSC


Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Funding Mechanism
Directed Research Grant

Focus Area
Breast (Cosmetic/Reconstructive)

African-American women are significantly less likely to undergo breast reconstruction following mastectomy than their Caucasian counterparts. Whereas lower utilization rates had previously been attributed to disparities in insurance coverage for breast reconstruction, utilization patterns remain unchanged since the adoption of the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (Alderman 2006). Few studies have attempted to identify potential causes for existing disparities in utilization, or examined in depth the reasons African-American women have for electing to have or not have reconstruction. Researchers have suggested that the cultural value of the breast may differ across ethnic groups (Alderman 2003), a plausible hypothesis given findings that African-American women may construe body and beauty ideals differently than Caucasian women (Rubin 2004). On the other hand, Morrow et al. (2005) found that African-American patients receiving mastectomy were more likely to report that the procedure was not recommended or was discouraged by their physician, or that they did not know enough about reconstruction. Further research is needed to understand African-American women's decision-making regarding breast reconstruction. To this end, we are proposing a qualitative study that will provide information about the reasons African American women have for choosing to receive or not to receive breast reconstruction. Through semistructured patient interviews, this study will explore factors influencing women's decision-making, including the role of cultural factors that shape women's surgical preferences, as well as their access to information and referrals. African-American women who have recently undergone mastectomy will be recruited in equal numbers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and the Queens Cancer Center (QCC). We plan to interview 50 women (25 MSKCC - 10 reconstruction, 15 non-reconstruction; 25 QCC - 10 reconstruction, 15 non-reconstruction). We will over-sample women who have had mastectomy without reconstruction, as our primary goal is to understand the under-utilization of these procedures. Interviews will be taped and transcribed, and data analysis will be conducted using grounded theory methodology. Results will be used to inform larger-scale quantitative studies of women's decision-making regarding breast reconstruction.

Dr. Pusic is a reconstructive surgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She performed her general surgery residency at Dalhousie University and Plastic Surgery residency at McGill University. She completed a Master’s degree in Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in 1997 and a research fellowship at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2001. Her research interest lies in assessing patient reported outcomes in plastic surgery patients. With grant support from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), she has developed a new questionnaire, the BREAST-Q, which measures satisfaction and quality of life outcomes among breast surgery patients. This questionnaire examines body image, psychological, social, sexual, and physical function as well as satisfaction with the process of care. She is also involved in research to measure patient expectations in breast reconstruction. This NIH funded study is ultimately aimed at improving patient education and promoting shared medical decision-making. Most recently, with further grant support from the ASPS, her research team is developing a new patient-reported outcome measure for facial aesthetic patients--the FACE-Q.