Association of Community Cancer Centers National Oncology Conference

Founded in 1974, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) represents more than 23,000 oncology care providers in the United States from more than 2000 hospitals and cancer care centers.1 The ACCC estimates that 65% of cancer patients in the United States receive their treatment at a hospital affiliated with the organization. The ACCC hosts five meetings annually, in addition to multiple webinars and information sessions held throughout the year.

The ACCC held their 34th National Oncology Conference in Nashville, TN, from October 18 to October 20. The meeting highlighted advances in the treatment and care of patients with multiple different types of cancers, as well as issues germane to practice within the community oncology sphere. At the conference, Barbara L McAneny, MD, FASCO, MACP, president-elect of the American Medical Association, was honored with the Annual Achievement Award. “It is a great honor to receive this ACCC award,” said Dr McAneny in her acceptance speech. “This is an organization that brings together thousands of specialists from all areas of cancer care, from cancer centers and hospitals to private practices and academic centers. All of us have a common cause, which is taking care of cancer patients. So, to receive an award from an organization that has so many great people to choose from is one of the greatest honors of my life.”2

Duke Cancer Institute Launches Community Partnership Program

Duke Cancer Institute has developed a community health program focused on minimizing cancer disparities and improving overall health. Nadine J Barrett, PhD, MA,
MS, director of the Office of Health Equity and Disparities at Duke Cancer Institute (Durham, NC) presented on the initiative.

“Part of the Office of Health Equity and Disparities is to really start thinking about what are some of the key needs in our community,” Dr Barrett said in a video supplied by ACCC. “African Americans, Latinos, and other disenfranchised groups tend to have worse outcomes compared to their white counterparts, or those who might be wealthier. So what we really wanted to focus on is how we ensure that people have the right information to act upon—the education component. The other part is outreach: How do we as an institution partner with community organizations to ensure that we are doing the appropriate outreach.”

Community partnerships have served as the basis for the creation of the program. Local organizations, faith initiatives, community liaisons, and representatives from state and local bodies comprise the program’s advisory council. Outcome measures, research, and partnerships have also been designed to refine and spread the program’s messages, and to help achieve the program’s goals.

The program’s advisors focused on three distinct areas: community engagement and outreach, bringing diversity to clinical trials and research, and educating practitioners on health disparities in research and practice.

Since its implementation, Dr Barrett conjectures that the program has reached more than 5000 community members, resulting in more than 1500 cancer screenings. The majority of screened patients were uninsured, and approximately 35% were undocumented. Twelve percent reported having no primary care provider.

Screenings resulted in the initiation of follow-up care for 52 community members.

Further goals of the program, which was funded in part by the National Cancer Institute, include outreach to racial and ethnic minority groups; individuals living in underserved and rural communities; and individuals in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.

“When we think about the challenges that really prohibit people from getting access to care, it’s not just the issue of the system,” Dr Barrett said. “It’s also a challenge in terms of people having fear and concerns about navigating this complex health system. It’s really important to eliminate those fears and break some of those myths.”

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