Faculty in the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health (SDSU) have been involved in a number of research and outreach activities to reduce cancer disparities. For example, it has a joint National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded Cancer Center Partnership with the University of California – San Diego Moores Cancer Center. The goal of this partnership is to reduce the burden of cancer among Hispanic/Latino communities in the catchment area of San Diego and Imperial Counties. The Partnership is building research and research education capacity and continuing to improve outreach and education to underserved communities in the area, with a special emphasis on Hispanics/Latinos. The Partnership funds promising multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research projects that include faculty from both institutions. In addition, for the last two years through an SDSU campus-wide Student Success Initiative, the Partnership has received funds to host a Distinguished Cancer Disparities that brings in Cancer researchers from around the country.
SDSU’s Institute for Public Health (IPH) is a proud to partner with the California Department of Health Care Services Every Woman Counts (EWC) program to ensure that low-income women receive free life-saving breast and cervical cancer screening services. Every year, more than a quarter of a million women receive EWC services, leading to the detection of an estimated 1,250 cancers and thousands of pre-cancerous lesions. EWC targets eligible women who are at risk of not receiving regular cancer screenings, including racial and ethnic minorities, those living in rural areas, women who have no regular source of health care, women without health insurance, and women who immigrated to the United States within the past ten years. Through community outreach and health education services, EWC increases screening rates among these women and provides a critical safety net for thousands of women who lack access to essential breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnosis. By increasing screening rates among these at-risk women, EWC strives to reduce deaths from breast and cervical cancer.
Many of SDSU’s faculty research has been centered around cancer epidemiology, access to healthcare, and improving screening. For example, Dr. Caroline Thompson, assistant professor of epidemiology, has been focusing her research on patient-level factors that may contribute to variation in screening and breast cancer-related clinical pathways that are not well understood. Electronic health records (EHR) contain vast amounts of detail reflecting routine clinical care with the potential to expand our understanding of patient choices in breast screening and care, and improve personalized care. She examines how appropriate use of informatics methods and in-depth knowledge of healthcare delivery can allow EHR data to expand our understanding of the pathway from screening to cancer diagnosis, and why patients choose certain treatments.