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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Overcoming Cancer and Inequality

The UMass Boston Dana-Farber / Harvard Care Center Partnership was awarded 13.7 million dollars in December. “The goal of our partnership is to address health disparities in minority populations, and to improve research, training, and outreach opportunities for minority students, nurses, and scientists,” according to the program’s website.

UMass Boston is in a unique position as a research institution and school to investigate discrepancies in wellness and medical-research among minority populations and the US population as a whole. Our campus is as diverse as they come, with an undergraduate student population of around 50 percent non-white (according to the website’s statistical portrait as of 2009.)

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities hopes that continued research will combat what a the UMB office of communications press release calls, “one of the greatest health challenges.”

Director of the Dana Farber / Harvard Care Center partnership Edward J. Benz Jr. acknowledged continuing strides made in the medical field, especially in cancer research.However, Benz states in the Dana Farber press release that the same kind of advancement cannot be attributed to what he calls “the efforts to eliminate health disparities.”

In fact, according to NCI’s Center on Minority health, although overall cancer-related deaths declined in the US, “for all cancers combined, the death rate is 25 percent higher for African Americans/Blacks than for Whites.”

Chancellor Keith Motley, recognizing these health and treatment disparities, stated in the UMB press release that, “cancer maims and kills regardless of our socioeconomic status.” Motley adds, regarding the collaboration between UMB and Dana-Farber, that “we endeavor to reduce the suffering in all people,”

Pilot programsstarted since the foundation of the partnership include educating under-served communities about cancer clinical trials; understanding prayer as a coping-mechanism among cancer patients; studying racial disparities in cancer care at the end of life of patients; studying health communication-channels among non-traditional college students.

Students come to study at UMB from all over the country and all over the world, from all backgrounds, social-classes, ethnicities, and political or religious. By partnering with UMB, the Dana Farber Institute is reaching demographics few other institutions could connect with as easily and as productively.