Reducing Cancer Disparities Through Partnerships

A group of racially diverse people puts a puzzle together

These projects allow CDC researchers to partner with researchers at the funded organizations to study new ways to achieve equity in cancer prevention and control.

CDC awarded funds to three research organizations to help us understand what works to advance health equity in cancer. These CDC-funded projects are some of the first that address systemic racism as a key driver of health inequities within communities of color.

The projects support these cancer prevention and control priorities—

  • Reduce preventable cancers.
  • Make sure all people get the right screening at the right time.
  • Support cancer survivors in a way that allows them to live longer, healthier lives.

These projects allow CDC researchers to partner with researchers at the funded organizations to study new ways to achieve equity in cancer prevention and control. The research team will see how well specific, community-based strategies work, for whom, and why. The lessons learned can be applied to reduce cancer disparities in other communities.

Working with Black Communities in Mississippi to Help People Quit Using Tobacco

Many Black people in Jackson, Mississippi smoke cigarettes—often as a way to cope with systemic racism, poverty, and stress. But tobacco use can cause cancer and other illnesses. To reduce tobacco use in this population, the nonprofit organization Cicatelli Associates, Inc. will examine Project BAT (Black people Against Tobacco).

Project BAT aims to help Black people quit using tobacco by—

  • Referring people who use tobacco to smoking cessation.
  • Creating resources to help people stop smoking.
  • Engaging with the community to educate people about the risks and harms of tobacco use.
  • Explaining how other communities have restricted tobacco use in public places.
  • Informing decision makers about policies that can help reduce tobacco use.

Cicatelli Associates has partnered with New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine and Fahrenheit Creative Group, a Mississippi-based firm, on this project.

Making Cancer Screening Accessible to New York City Communities

Screening means checking your body for cancer before you have symptoms. Screening tests can find some cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best.

NYC CONNECT (New York City Cancer Outreach Network in Neighborhoods for Equity and Community Translation) aims to work to make cancer screening accessible. NYC CONNECT builds on a program at NYU that uses patient navigators. Patient navigators are health workers who are trained to help people overcome problems that stop them from getting health care.

NYC CONNECT aims to help people get cancer screening by—

  • Working to reduce systemic racism in the places where we live, work, and play; in food access; and in health care among groups that have been marginalized, including Black, Asian, and Hispanic people.
  • Leading a research project to learn how well patient navigator programs work to increase screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers.
  • Studying the effect of reduced systemic racism on community-clinical cancer screening interventions in New York City.
  • Sharing strategies that work, so they can be used in other communities.

The NYU School of Medicine will work with NYU Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network collaborating center, the Albert Einstein Cancer Center, the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU, the Food Bank for New York City, and the NYU School of Medicine’s network of partners on this project.

Improving Cancer Survivors’ Health and Well-Being Through Patient Navigation in Washington, DC

People who have had cancer may have questions about how to be healthy after their cancer treatment is finished. This project focuses on Black breast and prostate cancer survivors in Washington, DC. Its goal is to find ways to improve care coordination, meet cancer survivors’ needs, reduce cancer health disparities, and increase awareness of systemic racism in the medical field and its effect on communities of color.

The project aims to—

  • Create one screening and referral process across three cancer centers in metropolitan Washington, DC to coordinate care.
  • Ensure doctors and patients have the information they need to provide high-quality care for all community members.
  • Learn how community health workers can identify and help Black breast and prostate cancer survivors who may need support and connection to other resources in their communities.
  • Provide training for doctors and medical staff to help them recognize and avoid racism and be anti-racist.

The MedStar Health Research Institute will work with researchers from George Washington University, Howard University, and Georgetown University on this project. The partners will see how well their strategies work. Plans that work well can be used in other communities.