National Cancer Experts Release Roadmap to Fighting Cancer in Medically Underserved Populations

National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) Diverse Cancer Communities Working Group’s “Development of an Actionable Framework to Address Cancer Care Disparities in Medically Underserved Populations in the United States: Expert Roundtable Recommendations” manuscript has been published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Journal of Oncology Practice.

Authored by national cancer experts from LUNGevity Foundation, CancerCare, Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple Health, Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, Tufts Medical School and BMS Foundation, the paper features actionable insights on impactful practices to erase cancer disparities across the care continuum.

“We can improve cancer outcomes for communities of color and rural areas by closing gaps in screening, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship, both in clinical practice and in policy,” said NMQF President and CEO Dr. Gary A. Puckrein, Ph.D. “This evidence-based, expert driven framework can help all stakeholders work together to build a cancer care system that delivers high-quality cancer care to all of America’s diverse populations.”

Karen M. Winkfield, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, who was lead author on the manuscript, agrees.

“This article summarizes recommendations from experts around the country who share ‘real world’ strategies that have successfully moved the needle and improved health equity in their communities,” she said.

“This novel publication will serve as a toolkit to bolster health care and community stakeholder efforts dedicated to patient and community engagement, research and education. While the impetus for this paper was cancer health equity, the current COVID pandemic highlights the need for this work across all areas of health and health care. It is our hope that this important framework will be used to inform, evaluate and implement approaches to making health equity a reality where each of us work, live and play.”

Nina Bickell, MD, MPH, Associate Director of Community Engaged and Equity Research at The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, echoed those thoughts.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on communities of color and other vulnerable populations underscores the critical importance of addressing inequities in health care,” she said.

“The pandemic has exacerbated disparities in care for other health conditions, including cancer, so our effort to develop a practical and sustainable cancer care continuum framework couldn’t be more timely. This framework is applicable to high-prevalence cancers in underserved and racial or ethnic minority communities, and we hope it leads to more equitable care and healthier lives for all.”

To learn more, download the manuscript from the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Journal of Oncology Practice now: 

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