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Colorectal cancer screening initiative from Stand Up to Cancer, collaborators wins Los Angeles Business Journal health care award

Post Date:August 31, 2022 6:00 AM
FacultyFola May

An ambitious joint initiative by Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) to improve colorectal cancer screening and treatment in medically underserved communities across Los Angeles was recognized today with a Health Care Leadership Award by the Los Angeles Business Journal at the 2022 Health Care Leadership Symposium and Awards.

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher Dr. Folasade may
Dr. Folasade May is a gastroenterologist, health equity expert, and health services researcher at the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity and the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Los Angeles Business Journal awarded SU2C its Health Care Leadership Award for ”Outstanding Collaboration” for bringing together leading researchers, patient advocates, community leaders, and clinicians as part of the SU2C Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team, along with community organizations to increase awareness, education and screening in colorectal cancer. Scientists from Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Saint John’s Cancer Institute and UCLA Health are leading the Dream Team’s efforts and are working in collaboration with three South and East Los Angeles community organizations – Black Women for Wellness, Corazon y Caracter, and TRAP Medicine.

“We are honored that our group’s work has been recognized and are grateful for the support of our collaborators,” said Russell Chew, SU2C president and CEO. “Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in American men and women combined and is beatable in 90% of cases when detected early. Screening rates are particularly low in South and East Los Angeles, so this team’s work will have a critical impact in helping to save lives in these communities.”

The SU2C Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team was established in October 2021. Among its goals, the Dream Team seeks to increase colorectal cancer screening rates to 80% within three specific communities: Los Angeles, Greater Boston, and Great Plains Tribal Communities in South Dakota.

Bringing screening and early treatment to medically underserved communities is crucial. Black and Hispanic people are typically diagnosed at a later stage in the disease. Black Americans are 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and 40% more likely to die from it than any other population.

The diverse and multi-disciplinary team that is moving the initiative forward in Los Angeles is led by Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, from the University of California, Los Angeles, and Anton Bilchik, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS, from Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. Jennifer Haas, MD, MSc, of Massachusetts General Hospital, leads the Health Equity Dream Team’s national efforts.

Beyond the goal of increasing screening rates in the community to 80%, the initiative has other goals, including: ensuring patients who have an abnormal stool-based screening test result receive a follow-up colonoscopy; building a collection of blood and stool samples for future research to ensure that low income and racial/ethnic minority populations are represented in the development of new screening tests and early detection methods for colorectal cancer; and fostering the careers of a new generation of Black, Latino, and American Indian doctors.

The SU2C Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team is supported by grants of $8 million — $6 million from molecular diagnostic company Exact Sciences and $2 million from Providence Health.

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