Five Catholic Health Initiatives Hospitals Participating in New National Cancer Institute Program
Representing Catholic Health Initiatives at the launch of the National Cancer Institute’s Community Cancer Centers Program were (from left) Brian Cornblatt, PhD, molecular epidemiologist and manager of oncology research at St. Joseph Medical Center, Towson, Md.; Deb Hood, program director for Catholic Health Initiatives; Alan Armer, PhD, vice president of research and development for Catholic Health Initiatives; Debbi Honey, RN, vice president of clinical operations for Catholic Health Initiatives; and Mark Krasna, MD, medical director for oncology at St. Joseph Medical Center, Towson, Md., and principal investigator for Catholic Health Initiatives.
The NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP), designed to reduce disparities in cancer care and improve oncology research, will encourage collaboration between community hospitals and medical, surgical and radiation oncologists and will forge close links to NCI research. The initiative will provide thousands more Americans with access to a system of high-quality cancer care and provide care to more patients where they live. The three-year pilot phase of the program will research new and enhanced ways to assist, educate and better treat the needs of underserved populations — including elderly, rural, inner-city and low-income patients — as well as racial and ethnic groups with unusually high cancer rates. This is the first NCI project aimed at extending NCI programs into local communities. “As the nation’s primary cancer research agency, the NCI has historically funded large urban academic and research centers,” said Kevin Lofton, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health Initiatives. “For the first time ever, in addition to seeking community-based centers, NCI wanted to engage a health system in the project that could promote rapid expansion of improved cancer care throughout the system. Catholic Health Initiatives was selected as a system for participation because of its wide geographical representation of acute care hospitals that already have established mechanisms for quick dissemination of knowledge, best practices for clinical care and quality of care across the system.” The pilot project, expected to lead to a national launch in 2010, will have a heavy emphasis on electronic medical records as a key factor in improving medical care. Each of the pilot sites will study how community hospitals can develop and implement a national database of voluntarily provided electronic medical records accessible to cancer researchers. In all, the NCI selected 10 sites with a total of 16 community hospitals for the project. “More than 170 community hospitals and health systems applied,” said Debbi Honey, vice president of clinical operations for Catholic Health Initiatives. “We are thrilled that Catholic Health Initiatives was selected.” The participating Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals and their cancer centers are: