By Katrina Burton
Established 10 years ago, MD Anderson’s Center for Research on Minority Health (CRMH) continues to develop diverse programs that will address health disparities in the minority and underserved communities through research, education and community relations.
Research findings support the importance of this need.
Studies show that African-Americans have the highest cancer incidence rate of any racial or ethnic group and the highest rate of cancer-related deaths.
In a recently published article in the journal Cancer, Patricia Miranda, Ph.D., a Kellogg Health Scholar at CRMH, reported that “specific prevention and education strategies are needed to address breast cancer in Mexican-origin women in the United States because up to half may be undiagnosed or diagnosed in late stages if recent Preventive Task Force guidelines for Hispanic women are not recognized.”
The CRMH’s Asian American Health Needs Assessment revealed that Chinese and Vietnamese in the Greater Houston area have the lowest rates of screening for cervical, prostate and colorectal cancer as compared to other racial and ethnic groups in Texas.
And in the Native American community, lack of knowledge and access to care are barriers to cancer screening and treatment.
“Reducing cancer among minorities is an enormous undertaking and will involve continued collaborations, funding and community involvement,” says Lovell Jones,
Ph.D., professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Health Disparities Research and director of CRMH. “We are pleased to have so many valuable programs that are helping us serve the community.”
CRMH will continue developing more integrated programs, increasing minority participation in clinical trials and disseminating research findings to the community.
Some examples of current programs coordinated by CRMH:
- Project EXPORT (Center of Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach Research on Health Disparities and Training) addresses environmental health and long-term multidisciplinary research in minority communities, as well as includes educational programs from kindergarten to postgraduate education.
- EMPaCT (Enhancing Minority Participation in Clinical Trials) supports and coordinates efforts to recruit and retain minorities in clinical trials and is backed by the National Institutes of Health’s Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
- SECURE/Gulf Coast Transdisciplinary Research Recovery Center for Community Health brings together a consortium of seven medical and public health institutions to address challenges affecting the health of those living in Gulf Coast communities prone to disasters and environmental contamination.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Demonstration Project is a national project assessing the costs and benefits of cancer screening and patient navigation services for Hispanic/Latino Medicare recipients. The CRMH site (Project FAROS) is one of six collaborating institutions and one of two focused on Hispanic/Latino populations.