Although minority groups and the poor experience higher rates of cancer than the wider population, these groups are frequently not represented in the process of developing studies that evaluate new treatments. Cancer care researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson are taking steps to involve minority and underserved populations in Philadelphia in planning studies that may lead to the discovery of ways to reduce the burdens of cancer.
Under the leadership of Ronald E. Myers, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Neoplastic Diseases and Director of Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center Cancer Prevention and Control Program, the cancer center has 25 engaged representative Philadelphia healthcare leaders in a pilot program called A Cancer Education Service (ACES).
"The ACES Program brings an academic health center and community healthcare leaders together 'upstream' in the process of designing cancer care research studies, rather than 'downstream' after studies have been developed," says Dr. Myers. "This approach represents a significant change in the traditional paradigm for doing research that involves minority and underserved populations."
The ACES program is generating attention from national cancer experts. For example, Dr. Myers conducted an ACES workshop at the 6th Biennial Symposium on Minorities, the Medically Underserved and Cancer April 23-27, in Washington, DC, on Capitol Hill. The workshop was entitled, "A Cancer Education Service (ACES) Research Program: Generating Cancer Care Research That Meets the Needs of Minority and Underserved Populations." A few weeks before the Washington workshop, Dr. Myers conducted a full-day ACES conference and workshop at Jefferson for both practitioners and patients.