Racism attacks people’s physical and mental health and is an ongoing public health crisis. The structural inequities and social injustice that African Americans and other people of color endure have been amplified by the coronavirus pandemic as they bear a greater burden of COVID-19 due to lesser access to testing, treatment, and care, along with higher rates of hospitalization and death.
And despite years of progress against cancer, not all people have benefitted equally from research and advances in care. Disadvantaged populations continue to suffer higher morbidity and mortality rates.
Together, we must urgently address and eradicate the institutional, structural, and systemic racism that plagues our country and leads to inequities that impede access to equitable and quality care for underserved communities.
As an organization that supports the entire cancer care community across our varied geography, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) pledges to continue to educate and advocate on behalf of our members and all of the communities we serve. As the “how-to” oncology association, we are committed to health equity and removing barriers to quality cancer care delivery through coordinated action that transforms existing models of care.
This month, ACCC will launch a model for improving care coordination that we have created to improve outcomes for lung cancer patients insured by Medicaid, a vulnerable population that continues to experience worse outcomes from the disease. We have tested this model with member programs of varied size and location, demonstrating the model’s ability to objectively assess and improve the quality and coordination of lung cancer care over time.
Recognizing our commitment to improving cancer care for traditionally underserved people, ACCC has dedicated this year’s President’s Theme to bridging the gap in cancer research in the community with a focus on improving access to cancer treatment trials for traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.
Additionally, ACCC is fully committed to incorporating a health equity lens and framework in all of our educational and advocacy programs, including a focus to understand and seek to eliminate barriers to access to the requisite biomarker testing that accompanies many of the new targeted anticancer agents.
At the same time, ACCC continues our support for a diverse workforce within our own organization and across oncology care.
We are interested in your suggestions and we welcome your help in improving equitable cancer outcomes. Peer-to-peer exchange and support is critical in these challenging times, as together we are stronger.
Randall A. Oyer, MD
Christian G. Downs, JD, MHA