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National Cancer Institute

Maryland's Approach to Survivorship Research, Policy, and Outreach

Claudia Baquet, M.D., M.P.H. and Shiraz Mishra, M.D., Ph.D
Office of Policy and Planning
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

  • Disparities in cancer survivorship by race/ethnicity have been documented for decades. Representation of African Americans, the poor, and the medically underserved in clinical trials participation is lower compared to the general populations, which may contribute to lower cancer survival rates. NIH mandates and national and state initiatives have been created to increase minority participation in clinical trials.
  • The University of Maryland School of Medicine seeks to address disparities by using community-based initiatives to increase health and research literacy; increase knowledge and change attitudes and practices related to cancer and relevant screening and diagnostic tests; provide education and information to patients and health providers about clinical trials; and provide patient navigators to help them negotiate the cancer care system. The University of Maryland Statewide Health Network (UMSHN) supports prevention and control activities related to cancer and tobacco-related diseases. UMSHN provides a telemedicine/videoconferencing linkage infrastructure to bring information about clinical trials to populations across the state and increase minority group participation.
  • The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities/NIH P60 Export Center of the University of Maryland targets urban and rural underserved communities, low-income residents, and racial or ethnic minorities throughout the state with an integrated program of research, community outreach, and training. The program also supports research on viral carcinogenesis and breast and prostate cancers, including disparities in prognostic factors and racial variations in gene expression.
  • The Maryland Regional Community Network Program sponsors community-based participatory research that seeks to enhance uptake of evidence-based culturally appropriate beneficial interventions, trains new cancer researchers, and supports science-guided policy development. The program focuses on medically underserved groups and targets specific cancers (breast, cervical, colorectal, liver, oral, and prostate) as well as risk behaviors such as smoking. The Maryland Community Clinical Trial Program involves ministers and churches along with health professionals to increase accrual of minority groups to clinical trials. In 5 years, this program has seen a 40-fold increase in trial accrual. The program received a "National Best Practice Award" from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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