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School & Program Updates

Yale Cancer Center Receives $1 Million Grant to Address Cancer Disparities

“Promoting health equity and providing an innovative standard of care for vulnerable populations is a top priority for the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and Yale Cancer Center,” said Mr. John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “We are proud to support the Cancer Disparities Firewall project and the work it will do to improve cancer outcomes for patients in New Haven.

At the core of the Cancer Disparities Firewall project is a team of cancer dedicated patient navigators. The navigators will provide wrap-around services to help address the barriers that sometimes stand in the way of patients receiving necessary follow up after a medical test or adhering to recommended treatments. Using a team approach, this will ensure that patients can focus on staying healthy, finding cancer early, and getting the best care possible.

To help bridge the gap with the New Haven community, project leaders will partner with the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI) Cultural Ambassadors Program, funded with a Clinical and Translational Science Award, which works with local community and church leaders to promote health. For this initiative, the Cultural Ambassadors will promote cancer prevention, cancer screening, and the advantages and opportunities represented by cancer clinical trials.

Project investigators will also partner with the Yale School of Public Health and Community Alliance for Research & Engagement (CARE), which works to improve health in the city of New Haven through community engagement, collaborative community-based research, and dissemination of findings.

Co-principal investigator, Dr. Beth Anne Jonesassistant director for diversity and health equity at the Yale Cancer Center (YCC), said these partnerships will help to eliminate the barriers to care that prevent our at-risk patients from accessing early diagnosis and life-saving treatment. “The Cancer Disparities Firewall project will help to prevent cancer and improve cancer outcomes for patients in Connecticut,” said Dr. Jones. “With a support team of navigators who can help address the social barriers as well as other factors that impact medical care, we will contribute to both improved outcomes and improved quality of life.”

The project will also partner with Gateway Community College in New Haven to build a cancer dedicated training core into an existing patient navigation program. This Gateway Navigation program enrolls local students who are interested in broadening their skill sets and will be better prepared for working in a local institution or health care environments.

The Yale Cancer Center (YCC) is one of only 49 National Cancer Institute (NCI-designated comprehensive cancer) centers in the nation and the only such center in southern New England. Comprehensive cancer centers play a vital role in the advancement of the National Cancer Institute’s goal of reducing morbidity and mortality from cancer through scientific research, cancer prevention, and innovative cancer treatment.

The mission of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is to help reduce health disparities by strengthening community-based health care worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight against disease.