Kashyap Patel, MD, chief executive officer, Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associations, and current president of the Community Oncology Alliance (COA), previews his discussion on health equity to be held at the 2022 Community Oncology Conference.
Kashyap Patel, MD, chief executive officer, Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associations, and current president of the Community Oncology Alliance (COA), will participate in a panel discussion at the 2022 Community Oncology Conference, titled, “Tackling Cancer Health Equity: Community Oncology Practices in Action.”
Can you give a preview of your session at the Community Oncology Conference on reducing disparities in cancer care?
I’m not going to kind of take the secrets out of the bag, but I really want to share that we really want to show that COA is an organization that believes in action—less talk, more action. And if you can see, the last 2-and-a-half years have shown us the ugliest part of disparity or inequalities, and that came to be known with COVID-19.
I don't think this was intentional. I have to be very honest to ensure that we are not giving the impression that these inequalities or disparities were something that was planned. It happened. We got to know about it deep down to the core, because what we saw was a difference in the outcomes between different ethnicities with COVID-19, and that triggered a more deep version of studying and we realized that it was pervasive in the system.
So, it also at least showed us how we can address the disparities as a whole. COA, being the organization that's more like a Spartan force of people with an action-oriented mind, we decided to act on that and we are going to show that all the solutions are going to be local, which is going to be something not solved by the government, but solved by the local initiatives.
So, the action that we've shown in 2 different pilots, between our practice in South Carolina and our practice in Houston, is that we can solve the problem—most, if not all. And we can boil the ocean as a whole. If we come together collectively as a society, I think we have a way to address the inequalities, equity, and the disparity issue as a whole.