Jefferson University Hospitals

Department of Family and Community Medicine Examines Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, Specifically in Cancer Care



Third-year residents in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital have organized a symposium examining racial and ethnic health disparities, with a focus on cancer care. The program will feature a keynote speech from Otis Brawley, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, May 16th in the Connelly Auditorium of the Dorrance H. Hamilton Building at 10th and Locust Streets on the Jefferson campus.

“The objective of the program is to provide a forum for scholarly discussion on health equity issues with a panel of expert researchers, clinicians and community leaders to improve provider and student knowledge, cultural competence and patient care,” says Mafudia A. Suaray, MD, MPH, one of the program planners with Traci Trice, MD, also a third-year resident.

The past few years have brought several new screening recommendations with regard to many types of cancer, including breast and prostate cancer, though it is currently unclear as to what effect these recommendations may have on improving versus widening the gap in cancer disparities among minority patients. “We hope to gain perspective on why these disparities exist and how to affect change,” says Dr. Trice.

“We hope to bring greater awareness of this issue to the healthcare community so we can work towards eliminating disparities among minorities,” adds Dr. Suaray.

Following Dr. Brawley’s address an interdisciplinary panel of experts will address minority health disparities in cancer care; and the spiritual and health needs of racial and ethnic minorities. Panel participants include:

  • Ronald E. Myers, PhD, Jefferson Department of Medical Oncology, Kimmel Cancer Center and director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program
  • Reverend Dr. Michael Barry, director of Pastoral Care for Cancer Treatment Centers of America- Eastern Region Medical Center
  • Richard C. Wender, MD, Alumni Professor and chair of Family and Community Medicine at Jefferson and former National President of the American Cancer Society
  • Deborah Witt, MD, assistant professor and director of the Family and Community Medicine Diversity Leadership Program
  • Reverend Josh Blakesley of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia
  • Gity Banan Etemad, MD, Pediatrician and member of the Baha'i Faith, board member of the Dialogue Institute at Temple University, and founding board member of Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia
  • Rehana Jan, MD, Anesthesiologist and member of the Islamic faith and member of the Delaware Valley Speakers Bureau, a Muslim non-profit organization.

“Health disparities in cancer care are an important issue, especially in the diverse patient population that we serve,” adds Dr. Wender, chair of Family and Community Medicine at Jefferson and a symposium panelist.

Media Only Contact:
Lee-Ann Landis
Jefferson University Hospitals
Phone: 215-955-6300