Case Western Reserve University researchers are leading a regional collaborative, opening up access to lung health screenings as well as other important health information to Northeast Ohio’s underserved communities. They are factoring the social determinants of health in a forward-thinking, patient-centric initiative funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Lung Cancer is Deadly in Ohio
According to a recent quote from the research project’s principal investigator, Monica Webb Hooper, “Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality in Northeast Ohio” and “Socioeconomic status and race are related to late-stage presentation and higher lung-cancer death, and we want this project to address those disparities.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb Steps Up
Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Foundation has injected $2.75 million in the form of a three-year grant into a group of 11 organizations supporting Northeast Ohioans to determine whether they need to be screened for lung cancer. This group will benefit from cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose the disease more easily.
Co-investigators for the initiative are Erika Trapl, an associate professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at the School of Medicine; Anant Madabhushi, the F. Alex Nason Professor II of Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Case School of Engineering; Kurt Stange, director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the School of Medicine; and Catalina Teba, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine and University Hospitals.
The collaborative will drive its programs based on four goals involving the support of underserved communities with lung health:
· Work with the community partners to develop and evaluate a video-based lung cancer screening aid;
· Develop and evaluate a community-based concierge service to help more underserved residents get screened and treated;
· Leverage an ongoing tobacco cessation intervention study to engage eligible smokers in low-dose, computed-tomography (LDCT) screening; and
· Use medical imaging being developed and tested in the Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics to improve lung-cancer diagnosis and determine the most effective treatment for LDCT patients.
Community & Advanced Technology for Greater Outcomes
A digital imaging lab is already in use at Case Western Reserve University, leveraging AI to scan for differences in lung tumors between scans to evaluate treatment programs. The 11-organization group, which includes Neighborhood Family Practice, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, the American Cancer Society, and University Hospitals, hopes to collaborate with community groups to learn more about what underserved communities need to establish a foundation to boost screening in these high-risk populations.
Erika Trapl, an associate professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at the School of Medicine
Anant Madabhushi, the F. Alex Nason Professor II of Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Case School of Engineering
Kurt Stange, director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the School of Medicine
Catalina Teba, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine and University Hospitals.