Project Summary

Background: Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Philadelphia. Certain communities and populations in Philadelphia are more likely to bear a disproportionate cancer burden due to social, economic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Philadelphia is also home to three National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers that have deep commitments and infrastructure to support community engagement and patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR)/clinical comparative effectiveness research (CER). 

Proposed Solution to the Problem: Recently, a city-wide cancer disparities coalition was launched in Philadelphia with the support of the three NCI-designated cancer centers. Leveraging this coalition, the project team aims to build capacity to engage communities that are disproportionately impacted by cancer in the city, coordinate and prioritize cancer disparities research efforts that communities and stakeholders believe to be most important, and train a diverse group of community members to be involved in cancer disparities PCOR/CER in the future.

Objectives: Guided by a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), the objectives are to: (1) increase understanding of perceptions of cancer, barriers and opportunities to modify root causes of cancer disparities, and attitudes towards participating in research among diverse patients and communities in Philadelphia; (2) develop a prioritized, city-wide cancer disparities research agenda with input from health systems, cancer centers, stakeholders, patients, and community members; and (3) train patients and community members to be involved in future PCOR/CER cancer disparities research 

Activities: Aim 1: Host six listening sessions in diverse communities across Philadelphia. Aim 2: Convene a consensus conference of key stakeholders to determine the prioritized, city-wide PCOR/CER cancer disparities research agenda.  Aim 3: Train 20 community members and stakeholders to be patient research advocates who can participate in future PCOR/CER cancer-related research in Philadelphia.

Projected Outcomes and Outputs: A greater understanding of barriers to reducing cancer disparities and engaging patients and community members in research; a prioritized, city-wide cancer disparities agenda; community members trained to be involved in PCOR.

Significance: Cancer disparities disproportionately burden some communities and populations, reducing life expectancy and quality of life. Building capacity to understand barriers to cancer prevention and control, coordinate and prioritize a research agenda, and train community members to engage in PCOR/CER research will contribute to a more patient-centered approach to reducing the cancer burden in Philadelphia.

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Community members, patients, and stakeholders are the cornerstone of the project. The SAC will guide all proposed activities and play key roles in planning, implementation, and dissemination. Additional community members and stakeholders will host the listening sessions, participate in the consensus conference, and speak during the research advocate training program. 

Project Collaborators: Each cancer center has longstanding and strong ties to many patient advocacy, civic engagement, government service, and non-profit organizations across populations, neighborhoods, and cultures in Philadelphia. These vital collaborators form the fabric of the city, and the project team is grateful to them for their support and collaboration.

Project Information

Amy Leader, MPH, DrPH
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

Key Dates

24 months


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: January 20, 2023