$10M NIH Grant to Study Health Disparities in Breast Cancer

UIC Podcast
UIC Podcast
$10M NIH Grant to Study Health Disparities in Breast Cancer

News Release


[Writer] This is research news from U-I-C – the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Today, Richard Warnecke, professor emeritus in the School of Public Health and a researcher at the Institute for Health Research and Policy, talks about a $9.6 million grant to UIC’s Center for Population Health and Health Disparities.

Here’s professor Warnecke:

[Warnecke] The Center has been funded for 5 years, and has just received funding for another 5 years.

During the first 5 years, we interviewed about 1,000 cancer patients, newly diagnosed, in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health, to identify their histories, and particularly to understand why there are these large disparities by race and ethnicity in Chicago in survival of breast cancer.

The results of that research pointed to two factors that we have been able to get additional funding to look at in this particular project. The first and major finding was that women of color are more likely to get a late-stage diagnosis than white women. It occurs particularly in women under 40. Two of our projects are aimed at looking at community safety net facilities that provide services to women of color. One is the safety net
hospitals, the second is one of the federally-qualified health centers that delivers primary care to women in this group.

In the first project, we’re interested in whether or not providing them with patient navigation services will enable them to keep their appointments, and if they miss them to remake them, and then if there’s a problem that’s observed in the screening – in the mammography – try and help them get to diagnosis and treatment.

The second project is particularly looking at women at high risk, and we want to know whether or not doctors in these federally-qualified health centers can assess patients for risk, what risk means to the patients, and how we can deliver that message without upsetting them, and then get them into a program where we can monitor them for poor outcomes.

We have a third project that is looking at the biology of breast cancer, particularly focusing on inherited cancers and the interaction between the genes related to cancer and experiences in the community, such as stress and so forth.

So overall, this grant is exciting because it focuses on data that we found from the last one. Our long-range vision is to test and establish interventions that address determinants of population health disparities using breast cancer as an example, and by approaching them with multi-disciplinary strategies.

To accomplish our long-range vision, we’re going to conduct research that impacts the policies that govern access to mammography and management of breast cancer, and asures equal access to the standard of breast cancer care, regardless of where it is delivered and who requests it. We also want to enable women who are poor and underserved to recognize the need to assess the care in ways that ensure the best outcomes. And finally, and most importantly, we’re trying to train young scholars in health disparities so that we have a continuing focus in this area.

We also, of course, are focused on getting the information that we find to members of the community – both practitioners and women who are at risk.

This, and another center that has just been funded, looks at other types of cancer and provides the University of Illinois at Chicago with a great base for moving ahead and understanding this persistent problem of health disparities.

[Writer] Richard Warnecke is professor emeritus in the School of Public Health and co-program director of the UIC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities.

For more information about this research, go to www.news.uic.edu … click on “news releases.” … and look for the release dated May 3, 2010.

This has been research news from U-I-C – the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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