The University of Arizona Presents a Successful Training Model to Reduce Implicit Bias in Medical Students

Controlling the expression of implicit bias in a clinical setting is a very complex balancing act. Physicians need to rely on categorizations based on age, gender, race, and ethnicity when formulating a diagnosis. Once these biases are activated, physicians need to then “individuate” the patient, developing personalized treatment recommendations and engaging in patient-centered dialogue. It is essential to design highly customized education programs and to begin training as early as possible.

Implicit bias is a manifestation of prejudice deriving from thoughts and feelings generated outside of an individual’s conscious awareness. These automatic judgments can be especially dangerous in a clinical setting, where they may be contributing to the health care disparities often experienced by vulnerable and underserved patient populations. A new publication from the University of Arizona presents a promising approach to reducing implicit bias in medical trainees. Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Investigator Dr. Jeff Stone and his colleagues developed and tested an intervention aimed at reducing the stereotyping of Hispanic patients as medically non-compliant. The term refers to a patient’s unwillingness to follow treatment recommendations or take medications as prescribed. Studies show that physician implicit bias may influence treatment recommendations: one study found that African American patients were significantly less likely to receive a recommendation for thrombolytic drugs to treat myocardial infarctions compared to their white counterparts.

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Patient Navigation and Health Care Delivery for Underserved Breast Cancer Patients: a New Approach from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

The article published on the JCO Oncology Practice offers a novel approach to incorporating patient navigation services into larger health systems. Dr. Melissa Simon of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and her team describe their process of utilizing data derived from their breast cancer patient navigation program to systematically improve care delivery for the vulnerable populations they aim to serve.

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Cancer Care and Health Equity in the COVID-19 Era

A new Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Webinar

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many health care systems to alter the way they provide services to their communities, embracing substantial changes to their clinical practice. With institutions considering making some of these changes permanent, it is essential to reflect on the implications for vulnerable and underserved patient
populations. How will they fare navigating a new system of care increasingly centered on technology and remote services?

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Johns Hopkins Medicine Showcases Promising Approach to Survivorship Care

A paper recently published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship makes a strong case for a unique model of survivorship care founded on primary care. The Johns Hopkins Primary Care for Cancer Survivor (PCCS) Clinic has been successfully operating for four years, helping cancer patients cope with potential health challenges in a multi-disciplinary setting. In addition to providing full primary and follow-up cancer care services, the clinic helps patients manage long-term side effects of cancer treatment such as providing referrals to specialty services, psychosocial support, and community organizations centered on cancer survivorship. Continue reading

Lorena Verdugo, Dr. Julie Armin, and Juanita Trejo

Addressing Language and Education Barriers in Southern Arizona

Two University of Arizona researchers presented posters at a local research fair highlighting interventions underway at UACC aimed at improving patient-centered cancer care for underserved populations.

[featured image – Left to Right: Lorena Verdugo, Dr. Julie Armin, and Juanita Trejo]

On May 2nd, The University of Arizona’s Juanita Trejo, MPH and Yvonne Bueno, MPH, OTR/L, presented posters at the 3rd Annual El Rio Research Fair “Innovations in Community Health”. Juanita Trejo, a recent graduate from the University of Arizona Master of Public Health program, presented a poster on the process of training Community Health Workers (CHWs) for The University of Arizona Cancer Center’s (UACC) expansion of Dr. Catherine A. Marshall’s Un Abrazo Para La Familia™ (Abrazo) program, Embracing the Family. She was awarded 2nd place in the innovation category. Yvonne Bueno, a 4th year Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) student at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, presented the results of qualitative survivorship care interviews, an important research tool in the expansion of UACC’s patient navigation program. She was recognized in the relevance category, earning 3rd place.

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Grady Cancer Center Recognized for High-Quality Cancer Care by ASCO

One of the six Alliance sites, Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Health System, has been awarded QOPI® certification by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc.

The Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Health System has been recognized by the QOPI® Certification Program LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®), as successfully completing a three-year certification program for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet nationally recognized standards for quality cancer care. The QOPI® Certification Program builds on ASCO’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®).

Continue reading at the Grady Health System website.

Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Opens a Survivorship Clinic

The Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady launched the Survivorship Clinic in partnership with Dr. Wilhelmina Prinssen, MD, FAAFP, Medical Director of the Asa Yancey Health Center. The clinic ensures that all cancer survivors, including high-risk patients, smoothly transition from specialized oncology care back to primary care.

Last March, The Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady launched the Survivorship Clinic, in partnership with Dr. Wilhelmina Prinssen, MD, FAAFP, Medical Director of the Asa Yancey Health Center. The Grady Survivorship Clinic leverages partnerships with primary care physicians to gain access to tools in the primary care environment while sharing Cancer Center information with the Grady Neighborhood Clinics. The site boasts a 100% initial participation rate, and Grady is working on expanding services and monitoring long-term compliance.

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Dr. Melissa Simon Honored with Presidential Award

Alliance Principal Investigator Melissa Simon, MD, MPH, ’06 GME, has received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). PAESMEM is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). It was established by the White House in 1995.

Continue reading at the Northwestern Medicine News Center.

Bridging the Communication Divide: Patient-Provider Communication Training at Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins Aims to Increase Patient-Provider communication through web based video training sessions with patients

A cancer diagnosis is a life-altering event. The Journal of Clinical Oncology and the Journal of General Internal Medicine report that patients are often unprepared to discuss their treatment plan with their physicians, and as a result can feel overwhelmed and anxious. These negative emotions can influence the patient-clinician relationship, as Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Principal Investigator Dr. Adrian Dobs explains: “Doctors are busy, patients don’t know what to ask, they’re overwhelmed with the diagnosis, they’re overwhelmed with the choices that they’re being given and the communication between the patient and the health care provider can be very strained.”

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Alliance featured in Merck story, “Charting a New Course in Cancer Care”

While there have been significant advancements in cancer treatment, many cancer patients still do not receive the help they need.

The Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care is highlighted in Merck’s featured story “Charting a New Course in Cancer Care.” The story includes information and profiles on Alliance program partners, as well as an overview of Alliance goals.

Continue reading at the Merck Foundation website.