Working to Reduce Disparities
The burden of cancer falls unequally on medically underserved populations and communities throughout the country, and many cancer centers have taken up the challenge to reduce the disparities gap. Often the academic and clinical facilities at a center represent cancer information, care, and treatments—including access to clinical trials—that are not available to patients in rural and racial populations in their catchment area.
Many cancer centers accomplish outreach to the research community and patients through their websites. These are just a small sampling of the projects and initiatives cancer centers are pursuing in their mission to reach out beyond their walls to communities and underserved populations, including:
- The Network for Cancer Control Research Among American Indian and Alaska Native Populations, operated by the Mayo Clinic, has significantly increased participation in clinical trials.
- The Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training, operated by the University of California Davis Cancer Center, focuses on the only U.S. racial/ethnic population––one of the fastest growing in the country––where cancer is the leading cause of death.
- The Deep South Network for Cancer Control at the University of Alabama pushes training, data gathering, and educational outreach into 22 counties throughout the state and the Mississippi Delta.
- The Cancer Health Disparities Institute at the Arizona Cancer Center focuses on cancers in underserved Hispanic and Native American populations, and provides research and training opportunities for investigators proposing research or planning to work in these communities.
- The New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance is a statewide collaborative clinical trials network with its hub in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center, reaching out to clinics in community hospitals in other areas throughout the state where the underserved needs were being identified.
- The Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC) was established by the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in southeast Washington, D.C., to reduce breast cancer disparities. The center partners with the University of the District of Columbia and plans to open a satellite office in the city to better fulfill its community-based research mission.
- The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University is located in the Washington Heights neighborhood, one of the most ethnically and racially diverse populations in New York City. Their Women at Risk Program provides education and services on breast cancer to a population with above average risk of the disease.
- The Hollings Cancer Center at the University of South Carolina runs a mobile health unit in 12 rural counties along the coast to provide digital mammography and other cancer screening opportunities.
- In the midst of Detroit’s diverse population The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
at Wayne State University has a long history of integrating its scientific research and clinical programs with community outreach activities to local populations in Detroit. Their Metropolitan Detroit Cancer Surveillance System was a founding participant in the NCI’s national Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program.
- The Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah has an enormous catchment area extending into Idaho and Montana. Their Intermountain Cancer Care Program provides access to Utah’s underserved rural residents and the seven Native American tribes in the state through a network of credentialed physicians and eight approved cancer clinics.