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Health Equity and Access Weekly Roundup: June 30, 2023


The Center on Health Equity and Access spotlights the latest health equity news, research, and initiatives to reduce health care disparities and improve access to care.


Biden-Harris Administration Launches Initiative Targeting Poverty-Associated Cancer Disparities

The Persistent Poverty Initiative, which aims to reduce the effects of persistent poverty on cancer outcomes, was launched with $50 million awarded by the Biden-Harris administration, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced. The initiative creates 5 new Centers for Cancer Control Research in Persistent Poverty Areas and aims to address the cumulative effects of persistent poverty on cancer outcomes through increased research capacity, cancer prevention research, and community-based programs in low-income areas.

EPA Closes “Cancer Alley” Investigation, Finds No Discrimination

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) civil rights probe into the state of Louisiana concluded there was no discrimination against Black residents living in a heavily polluted area nicknamed “Cancer Alley,” The Hill reported. Environmental groups claimed that a facility run by Denka was permitted to release high levels of carcinogens and likely carcinogens disproportionately affecting St John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana, causing the majority Black population to “face the highest cancer risk from air pollution in the nation,” according to The Hill. The agency ordered Denka to lower its emissions and filed a civil rights complaint against the company, but environmental advocates said they are disappointed by the decision to close the investigation into the state and do not feel justice has been brought to the residents.


Study Links Food Insecurity, Poor Cardiovascular Health in the US

A research letter published in JAMA Network Open suggests that food insecurity and participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—which aims to reduce food insecurity among vulnerable populations—may be barriers to cardiovascular health. In the study, participants in SNAP who had very low food insecurity were the least likely to have moderate or ideal cardiovascular health. Those with more severe food insecurity also showed worse trends in diet, tobacco use, sleep health, body mass index, and serum glucose scores.

Read it here.

Improving Diversity in Clinical Trials for Cancer Drugs

An article published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research outlines current practices, challenges, and opportunities to improve diversity in clinical trials for cancer drugs. The paper emphasizes the need for intentionally planned clinical trials to ensure the inclusion of more diverse populations in cancer drug development, as well as shared learning and collaboration between stakeholders to improve strategies for increased diversity going forward.

Read it here.

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