The role of structural racism in adult AML outcomes and disparities

The Story

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a hematologic cancer that mainly affects adults and has a generally poor prognosis, with death resulting either from complications of treatment or from the disease itself. Racial and ethnic disparities in survival from AML are not well understood. Aspects of where patients live and have lived historically could influence AML survival disparities. Differences in residential proximity to health care, sources of healthy food, green space, pollution, or living in impoverished neighborhoods with high levels of chronic stress, could be markers of structural racism that might influence AML survival.

What We’re Doing

In order to best understand the role of structural racism on AML disparities we need to measure exposures historically so that we can account for the long latency of cancers such as AML. Therefore we will link measures of structural racism to patients’ residential histories and define cumulative, time-weighted exposure measures. By doing so, we can account for moves over time and changes in neighborhoods over time. Finally, using a mixed methods approach we will connect our findings to the burdens and barriers that patients experience. Our project includes two junior investigators with detailed career development plans that build off of the proposed study, and mentoring of an internal medicine resident. Our work will strengthen collaborations across the three academic institutions and a cancer disparities focused community-embedded non-profit organization, inform future translational studies linking specific aspects of structural racism to disease pathogenesis, and inform resource allocation and targeted interventions to overcome the widening Black-White AML survival disparity.

(2023) Full Project #1 – Research Team & Partners

University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Garth Rauscher, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health
  • Anne-Marie Murphy, PhD, School of Public Health

Northwestern University

  • Irum Khan, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine

Northeastern Illinois University

  • Hardik Marfatia, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Economics

Community Partner: Equal Hope

  • Sarah Lomahan, MPH

Study Results

Study is underway. Please check back for study updates and results! Contact us to learn more or to get involved.

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