group of diverse adults

Scientists have known for some time that a person’s ethnicity is inherently linked to their health. Research has shown that some racial and ethnic sub-groups are more prone to certain diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. In Chicago, these rates of disparity are higher than in other major cities. Community outreach and engagement are essential to addressing these disparities.

Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity (OCECHE)

Community-centered programs are essential to address health disparities. The Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity (OCECHE), under the direction of Karen Kim, MD, and Faculty Director Nita K. Lee, MD, MPH, has formed strategic alliances with UChicago units and other health care organizations, as well as community, ethnic, and faith-based groups to create innovative programs that will increase access to care, reduce risk factors for cancer, increase participation in cancer research, and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors.

Learn more about the OCECHE

ChicagO Multiethnic Prevention And Surveillance Study (COMPASS)

Population research helps scientists understand how lifestyle, environmental, biological and other factors impact cancer risk within a specific ethnic or racial sub-group of people. Led by Habibul Ahsan, MBBS, MMedSc, the COMPASS study is recruiting participants from 20 Chicago neighborhoods in order to elucidate the causes of disease and to understand health disparities among Chicago’s diverse population. This knowledge could lead to new and better treatment options.

Learn more about the COMPASS study

Accelerating Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer screening detects disease early and can also prevent many cancers by finding and removing precancerous polyps. Yet uptake of colorectal screening is poor, especially among underrepresented populations in Illinois and especially Cook County. In 2018, the Comprehensive Cancer Center was awarded nearly $6 million over five years to test novel ways to improve colorectal cancer screening and follow-up among groups that have not been screened.

The Accelerating Colorectal Cancer Screening and Follow-up through Implementation Science (ACCSIS) program, led by Karen Kim, MD, and Blase Polite, MD, MPH, will provide an evidence base for multilevel interventions that increase rates of colorectal cancer screening, follow-up, and referral to care. It will also establish best practices for how to scale up interventions to reduce colorectal cancer.

Learn more about the ACCSIS program