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Health Equity Retreat: Opportunity to Envision DCEG Research Infrastructure

, by Jennifer K. Loukissas, M.P.P.

Health Equity: DCEG's Commitment to Research to Improve Cancer Health Outcomes for All

On October 6, investigators, fellows, and staff across DCEG met in person and online for a discussion of the future of health disparities and health equity research in the Division, a tenet described in the 2020-2025 DCEG Strategic Plan

The half-day-long retreat was developed based on the recommendations of an ad hoc Health Disparities Advisory Group made up of experts from the extramural and wider NCI and NIH communities, and internal discussions, including a day-long scientific retreat of senior DCEG leadership in August of 2022. The goal of this 18-month process was to inform how DCEG may best contribute to research seeking to discover, understand, and inform the means of prevention of differences in cancer etiology and outcomes in disadvantaged populations in the United States and globally. 

That process and its conclusions were summarized in an internal report that informed the development of the agenda for the October meeting and three main goal areas: to promote cancer health equity research, advance research methods, and partner with the broader research community. 

The group that convened earlier this month brainstormed strategies, big or small, for each goal area to address barriers, secure critical success factors, or otherwise move the goals forward in the next three years.   

The meeting was facilitated by experts in the NCI Office of Workforce Planning and Development. Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., Director, DCEG, opened the morning with a call to action and vision setting. Jonine Figueroa, Ph.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch, co-led planning for the event, setting the stage for the discussion with a summary of definitions and the goal areas. Key contributors included Pete Kraft, Ph.D., Director, Trans-Divisional Research Program, Hannah P. Yang, Ph.D., Sc.M., Associate Director for Scientific Operations, Amanda Black, Ph.D., M.P.H., Associate Director for Biological Resources, Brittny Davis Lynn, Ph.D., M.P.H., Associate Director for Scientific Review and Dissemination, Jackie Lavigne, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director, Office of Education, and Anil Chaturvedi, Ph.D., senior investigator in the Clinical Genetics Branch and senior advisor for Faculty Development. 

The Division plans to describe the next steps in a document to be published on the website in 2024.

Coinciding with the retreat, the Division launched a video entitled DCEG’s Commitment to Health Equity: Research to Improve Cancer Health Outcomes for All.