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About the Cancer Care Equity Program

  • Christopher Lathan, MD, MS, MPH and patient

    The Cancer Care Equity Program (CCEP) aims to place Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the forefront of efforts to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes to vulnerable patients locally and become a national model for translating disparities research into interventions. To accomplish this, CCEP's work focuses on three initiatives:

    Clinical Outreach Initiative

    The Cancer Care Equity Program is a pilot program for streamlined diagnosis, treatment, and education of underserved patients with suspected malignancy, in collaboration with Whittier Street Health Center, a community health primary care center located in Roxbury, Mass. There are six targeted objectives that the Cancer Care Equity Program (CCEP) hopes to achieve with its Clinical Outreach Initiative:

    • Decrease wait times for diagnosis and treatment of cancer for vulnerable patient populations
    • Increase awareness and knowledge of cancer prevention and treatment within vulnerable communities
    • Foster trust with providers and patients from vulnerable communities
    • Create a research cohort of patients referred via the WSHC outreach program for observational and interventional studies
    • Increase enrollment in clinical trials
    • Create a model for addressing the health disparities gap in cancer care

    Clinical Outreach Services

    Dana-Farber Community Cancer Care is a partnership between Whittier Street Health Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Our comprehensive cancer care program is here to help identify and aid in diagnosis and work-up of suspected oncologic issues. Established patients of Whittier Street Health Center can be seen in our clinic for any of the following reasons:

    Lung cancer screening and smoking cessation counseling

    In 2014 the Cancer Care Equity Program partnered with CVS Pharmacy to begin a lung cancer screening program for patients seen at Dana-Farber Community Cancer Care at Whittier Street Health Center. Through this program, patients are able to have a consultation with one of our oncologists, receive a referral to our smoking cessation counselor for individualized one-on-one smoking cessation counseling, and receive a low-dose CT scan at no cost.

    Genetic cancer risk evaluation

    Any patient with a family history of cancer can be seen in our clinic by a Dana-Farber geneticist and genetic counselor. Our genetics team will recommend special screening guidelines for patients with greater risk of developing cancer and help patients through the genetic testing process.

    Past or current cancer diagnosis

    Patients with a new diagnosis of cancer, patients who have been lost to follow-up for a cancer diagnosis, or patients who were diagnosed with cancer in their country of origin will be seen by one of our specialists. We will obtain records from past treatment(s) and will coordinate every aspect of follow-up care.

    Cancer survivorship

    Patients who are cancer survivors and need to establish a survivorship plan can be referred to one of our oncologists. Based on the treatment the patient received, we will establish a personalized plan of care.

    Any abnormal and/or concerning symptoms

    Patients who present with any abnormal or concerning symptoms can be referred to our clinic. We can help arrange further testing of any troublesome symptoms. Patients do not need to have a cancer diagnosis to be seen.

    Dental referrals

    Patients who present with concerning mouth lesions will also be evaluated in our clinic. If needed, we can arrange for an oral biopsy.

    Dana-Farber Health Equity Reporting

    Monitoring of adult and pediatric inpatient/outpatient oncology services with consistent documentation of patient sociodemographic data, including clinical trials participation.

    • Produce quarterly health equity reports
    • Collaborate with External Affairs and existing quality and clinical committees to develop appropriate interventions when needed

    Support for Disparities Research

    Support and facilitation of disparities research and researchers at Dana-Farber, functioning as a conduit between laboratory-based researchers, health services researchers, outreach efforts, community-based researchers, and clinical trialists who focus on disparities research. In collaboration with the Program for Disparities in Risk Reduction, the Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities, and Harvard Catalyst, the Cancer Care Equity Program (CCEP) is responsible for fostering a supportive, cross-disciplinary environment for cancer disparities research. The CCEP's research activities are aligned with the following objectives:

    • Formation of a research cohort of patients referred to Dana-Farber via the CCEP's clinical outreach program for observational and qualitative studies
    • Increase enrollment on clinical trials
    • Facilitate disparities research across disciplines
  • Contact: Ludmila Svoboda


  • Addressing Inequities in Cancer Care
    Dana-Farber's Christopher Lathan, MD, MS, MPH, faculty director for cancer care equity, details health equity research that highlights key findings and recommendations on community outreach and engagement efforts of the National Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Video published: 3/25/21.

  • Resources for Marginalized Patients and Advocates

    Dana-Farber is committed to reducing barriers to high-quality cancer care for medically underserved patients and their loved ones. And we are committed to addressing the socio-economic disparities and cultural differences that affect cancer risk. Learn about our resources for bringing cancer screening, treatment, and research to underserved patients and communities.