The Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities (IECD) has a central goal of engaging diverse communities on the subjects of cancer prevention and treatment, which goes hand-in-hand with work to support and increase research on cancer disparities.

The IECD is involved in exploring and creating partnerships located in various communities which include faith-based organizations, neighborhood libraries, community health centers, local colleges and universities and various community based organizations. 

Individuals from underserved communities are often in jeopardy of missing opportunities for cancer prevention, early diagnosis, and state-of-the-art treatment. The IECD advances DF/HCC’s efforts to reduce disparities in the delivery of cancer care.

To learn more about the IECD’s community engagement efforts and to get more involved in cancer prevention and treatment education in your community, please contact us at

Areas of Focus

Clinical Trials Education
In an effort to raise awareness and improve knowledge about and attitude towards cancer research and clinical trials participation, the CEC will work closely with community partners and groups to create educational opportunities. For groups not yet heavily affected by cancer, we provide information that will improve decision-making when the need for cancer treatment arises. In addition, we seek to strengthen communication skills of our clinical research staff in clinical trials recruitment, improving accrual practices by providing culturally relevant education and training.

Education and Advocacy Initiatives 
To inform communities about DF/HCC, we are spearheading activities to educate residents about cancer disparities and available resources. To commemorate National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, the IECD hosts a number of community events including a popular Grand Rounds health series at community health centers. We also have an active partnership with the faith-based community and have jointly developed and sponsored educational programming focused on treatment, screening, prevention, survivorship, and end of life.

Innovative Programs to Reduce Barriers to Care
Patient Navigation programs are a novel approach to enhance access to care. The DF/HCC hospitals have embraced this model to help community residents find their way through the complex world of cancer care, from outpatient screening to inpatient treatment. The Patient Navigator Network provides an opportunity for navigators to share resources and best practices while supporting one another. The navigators also have been instrumental in working with Massachusetts House and Senate leaders to pass new Patient Navigation legislation.