Despite continued efforts, Colorectal Cancer (CRC) disparities still exist in African-American communities, especially in medically under-resourced areas. Current effective interventions are oftentimes too costly or developed in the absence of primary care providers. Multiple simultaneous and parallel research occurring within the same community or institution leads to silos in health systems. These two limitations prohibit collaboration, create duplicative services, and ultimately inefficiently reduce disparities. Unfortunately this lack of partnership and collaboration heavily impacts many communities on the South Side of Chicago who are disproportionately affected by Colorectal Cancer.
What We’re Doing
The key to mitigating such an issue is to develop a partnership that is dedicated to leveraging resources and experience, together. Clinicians and administrators from two Federally Qualified Health Center(FQHCs) networks (the UI Health Mile Square Health Center; Access Community Health Network) and three academic institutions (University of Illinois-Chicago; Northwestern University; Northeastern Illinois University) have come together to build a cross-institutional collaboration that will address cancer disparities and share best practices. This exemplifies a foundation of meaningful engagement with the community and other stakeholders.
There are three main objectives for the project. The first is to adequately document the current state of CRC disparities and programs across institutions to identify all similarities. The second objective is to understand how system level interventions and operational resources can be leveraged to disseminate best practices. Combining processes and procedures ensured a well-polished, sustainable, singular product. We will also able to provide increased opportunities for mentorship for early investigators to help shape their careers in health disparities research. Aims one and two will be addressed through a series of collaborative examinations of CRC screening and compliance data from each FQHC along with a series of community meetings and town hall forums where we get input from community stakeholders and report out to community members an update on best practices in CRC screening and prevention.
“Reducing Cancer Disparities” Research Team & Partners
- Kenzie Cameron, PhD, MPH (Northwestern)
- Danielle Lazar, AM, DrPH Candidate (Access Community Health Network)
- Hardik Marfatia, PhD (NEIU)
- Keia Hobbs, MD (UIC)
- Shan Wang, PhD (NEIU)
- Karriem Watson, DHSc, MPH, MS (UIC)
The third aim of the study is to utilize the information gathered from the collaborative meetings, town hall forums and clinical data to identify a shared research priority area. The results from the collaboration will be utilized to develop a collaborative pilot research project based on identified needs of the community clinical partners. The project is ongoing and additional data will be shared as project progresses. Contact us to learn more or get involved.