The Story

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)

Study Results

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.


Related Pages


Research Incubator »

Incubator and catalyst funding for partnership building, research proposal development, pilot projects, and research projects.


Community Engagement Core »

Enhancing community engagement, cancer education, survivorship support, and community capacity building.


Research Education Core »

We leverage the strengths of ChicagoCHEC institutions and partners to support students, trainees, and faculty.


Planning and Evaluation Core »

We initiate new projects and continuously evaluate ChicagoCHEC’s impact and progress toward its mission to advance cancer health equity via scientific discovery, education, training, and community engagement.


Admin Core »

The Admin Core supports ChicagoCHEC’s research, education, and outreach via overall leadership, administrative management, and program coordination.


Choose to Change Research Project »

Reducing Tobacco Use Disparities Among Adults in Safety Net Community Health Centers (The Choose to Change Study)


WeCanConnect Pilot Project »

WeCanConnect: Using mHealth to Connect Physically Disabled Cancer Patients with Matched Disabled Survivors


Mi Guia (My Guide) pilot study »

An e-Health Intervention to Improve Symptom Burden and Health-Related Quality of Life among Hispanic Women Completing Active Treatment for Breast Cancer


Latino Obesity Project »

Community-engaged obesity intervention development for Puerto Rican and Mexican men


Prostate Cancer Disparity Project »

Prostate cancer disparity in Chicago-area African American men: patient-derived models and biomarkers of cancer risk


Citizen Scientists »

Despite overall declines in rates of aggressive prostate cancer (PCa) in the U.S., racial disparity persists, with African American (AA) men experiencing rates greater than 2X those for European American (EA) men. While prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening has made a major contribution to the mortality decline, new screening strategies are needed to identify potentially […]

Breast Cancer Disparities in Chicago: Biological Factors »

The goal of this research proposal is to address the biological underpinnings of breast cancer mortality disparities in Chicago. African American (AA) women in the city have a 4-5 fold greater risk of death from hormone-dependent breast cancer compared to white women, even after controlling for stage at diagnosis, treatment, and other known prognostic factors. […]