NCI Holds Cancer Health Disparities Summit 2006
Cancer researchers, health professionals and community health advocates came together in Bethesda, Maryland, recently for the Cancer Health Disparities Summit 2006.
Schmalfeldt: Cancer researchers, health professionals and community health advocates came together in Bethesda, Maryland, recently for the Cancer Health Disparities Summit 2006. Cancer Health Disparity refers to the difference in the incidence, burden, and mortality in certain racial and ethnic populations and socio-economically deprived individuals. The summit featured interactive sessions on a variety of topics centered around the theme "Strengthening our Culture of Collaborations for Reducing Cancer Health Disparities." Dr. Sonya Springfield, acting director for the Center to Reduce Cancer Disparities and branch chief of the Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Branch at the National Cancer Institute talked about the objectives of the two-and-a-half-day summit.
Springfield: What we wanted to do was bring together what I felt were some of the most effective and promising programs that were addressing the areas of cancer health disparities that were funded by the NCI as well as the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities. So we had about eight of these programs come together, first and foremost to understand and learn and gain knowledge about each of these various programs. A lot of them are doing some interesting research in areas that they could absolutely begin new collaborations, they could strengthen their current partnerships and gain better ways of sharing resources and the talent and expertise in the areas that, again, are effective in reducing cancer burden in minorities.
Schmalfeldt: Dr. Springfield said the summit was also attended by representatives from all the divisions at NCI, giving an overview of other programs and their commitment to activities within their divisions that are dealing with the burden of cancer in minority populations. She talked about what she thinks the various groups took away from the summit.
Springfield: I think the group was really re-energized. It was apparent that they were unaware of the many activities and the many programs that NCI was supporting in this area. They got a feel for the NCI commitment from the leadership. They got a renewed sense of hope, I believe. Currently we are undergoing a course of fiscal restraint, so they're concerned about budget cuts. They're concerned about their programs ending or not getting enough support to do the various works that they are in the process of doing. I think that they were reassured by the message that we're going to be here through this short period of time, that we'll emerge strong when funds return back into our portfolios and in our programs.
Schmalfeldt: To learn more about the summit, log on to www.cancer.gov/newscenter. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.