Dr. Deirdre Shires Receives Eugene Washington Community Engagement Award

Deirdre ShiresMSU School of Social Work logo

Congrats to MSU School of Social Work faculty member Deirdre Shires! Dr. Shires will co-lead a project selected for Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award funding to help develop a skilled community of patients and other stakeholders from across the entire healthcare enterprise and involving them meaningfully in every aspect of PCORI’s work. The project will be led by Hayley Thompson (Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University) and Curtis Lipscomb (LGBT Detroit – Community Lead). The award will fund the “Partnering with Sexual and Gender Minority Communities to Address Cancer Disparities in Detroit” project with $250,000 over two years.

There are about one million sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) living with cancer in the U.S. today. There is evidence that SGM cancer disparities exist, yet little is known about SGM experiences across the cancer care continuum. This is particularly true for African American SGMs who may experience greater disadvantage and cancer burden due to the intersection of SGM identity and race. Cancer-related patient-centered outcomes research has the potential to more fully describe SGM experiences across the cancer care continuum and identify promising points of intervention.

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This project will be a collaboration between Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and community partners to expand Detroit HealthLink for Equity in Cancer Care (an ongoing PCORI project). The goals of the project are to establish two Cancer Action Councils with community stakeholders in the metro Detroit sexual and gender minority community. Cancer Action Council members will be trained in research methods and ultimately assist with conducting a series of focus groups in the community to identify cancer-specific patient-centered outcomes research needs among racially and socioeconomically diverse SGM individuals.

Dr. Shires stated, “We are starting to understand that cancer disparities exist for sexual and gender minorities – in screening rates, age of diagnosis, and quality of life for survivors, for example. But, we know so little about the specific healthcare needs of this community related to cancer. This study is exciting because local SGM community members who have been affected by cancer in some way will be involved in every step of the process.”

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