UF Health Initiatives Highlight Cancer Disparities Research During Black History Month

Cancer Disparities Research CollaborativeIn recognition of Black History Month, the UF Health Cancer Center and the UF department of radiation oncology highlighted ongoing health disparities research and hosted a collaborative and educational prostate cancer event for the Gainesville community.

The Community-Partnered Cancer Disparities Research Collaborative

One initiative involves the UF Health Cancer Center’s Community-Partnered Cancer Disparities Research Collaborative (CDRC), which conducts community-based participatory research among Blacks and others who live in the East Gainesville community.

The CDRC consists of eight local Black churches and their community scientists and technology coordinators and a group of faculty members and administrators at the UF Health Cancer Center who are working as partners to help prevent and reduce cancers among Blacks living in or near East Gainesville. Learn more about the CDRC.

“Power Over Prostate Cancer” Event

On Saturday, February 11, more than 200 people attended a successful “Power Over Prostate Cancer: A Gathering for Black Men and the Family Members Who Love Them” event, hosted by CDRC and its partners, to provide information on the prevention of prostate cancer and ways to cope with the impact of this disease. Radiation Oncology Professor William M. Mendenhall, MD discussed new treatment options. Learn more.

Radiation Oncology Health Disparities Research Initiatives

The department of radiation oncology frequently conducts health disparities research impacting Black men and women. For example, after four years and 2,524 enrolled patients, the UF COMPPARE study officially closed patient accrual on October 31, 2022. Results from the study, funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), will offer a definitive comparison of the quality of life, side effects, and cure rates for prostate cancer patients treated with proton therapy or photon therapy.

COMPPARE realized both a remarkable overall accrual rate and an exceptional accrual rate of minorities, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. In fact, the study stands to become a model for patient-centric clinical research in the future: Black patient accrual in COMPPARE is estimated at 16.6%, far exceeding the study’s original goal of 10%.

COMPPARE was recognized by PCORI in 2021 when Dr. Mendenhall and Charles Griggs, Minority Engagement Group Coordinator, were invited to participate in a special panel discussion entitled “From Principles to Practice: Building Partnerships for Trust and Equity in Health Research” during the institute’s 7th annual meeting.

In addition, Dr. Mendenhall was invited to speak about COMPPARE at the sixth annual Biennial Science of Global Prostate Cancer Disparities in Black Men Conference, held virtually in 2021.

The Prostate Cancer Transatlantic Consortium launched the event in Jacksonville, FL in 2010. Funded by the National Cancer Institute and co-organized by the African-Caribbean Cancer Consortium and multiple institutions and organizations, the conference has employed a unique approach to understand and address prostate cancer disparities through team science initiatives, resulting in several scholarly achievements.

In September 2022, the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) awarded a University of Florida team the 2022 Conquer Cancer Merit Award for their research abstract submitted to the ASCO Quality Care Symposium.

The abstract, titled, “Palliative care utilization and trends among patients with metastatic breast cancer: A SEER-Medicare analysis,” was also selected for poster presentation at the symposium. The team comprises UF Radiation Oncology physicians Fantine Giap, MD, Chief Resident; Associate Professor Julie Bradley, MD; and Assistant Professor Lola T. Oladeru, MD, MA, MBA; as well as Young-Rock Hong, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Health Services Research, Management and Policy.

The team’s research, which included over 11,000 women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer above the age of 65, found suboptimal utilization of palliative care – 15.6% of the cohort – and a trend of geographic, age and income-based disparities.

Black History Month at UF

For additional information about Black History Month at UF, visit the Chief Diversity Officer website.


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