Development of an Actionable Framework to Address Cancer Care Disparities in Medically Underserved Populations in the United States: Expert Roundtable Recommendations

JCO Oncol Pract. 2021 Mar;17(3):e278-e293. doi: 10.1200/OP.20.00630. Epub 2021 Jan 18.


Purpose: Cancer disparities persist among medically underserved populations despite widespread efforts to address them. We describe the development of a framework for addressing cancer care disparities across the cancer care continuum (CCC), guided by the CCC domains established by the Institute of Medicine/National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (IOM/NAS).

Materials and methods: An environmental scan was conducted to identify strategies and associated experts who are providing or have successfully provided community- and/or patient-centric IOM/NAS-defined domain standards to our target populations. A multistakeholder expert roundtable working group was convened for framework development. A premeeting survey informed agenda development, documented expert practices for target populations, and identified priority areas for meeting focus.

Results: The environmental scan identified 84 unique experts across 8 stakeholder groups and 44 patient organizations; 50 were invited to the roundtable and 33 participated. They broadly represented disease sites, geography, and experience with target populations and all CCC domains. The premeeting survey (16 responses) identified coordination of care or patient navigation (66.7%), community engagement (60.0%), and healthcare system changes (53.3%) as priority focus areas. The experts identified access and treatment barriers or gaps within and between CCC domains, specified key notable practices to address these, and developed an actionable framework and recommendations for each priority focus area.

Conclusion: The framework and recommendations are intended to guide researchers, healthcare leaders, advocates, community- and patient-focused service organizations, and policy leaders to address and promote health equity in cancer care access and treatment outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Equity*
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, U.S., Health and Medicine Division
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • United States