As part of its ongoing commitment to addressing inequities in cancer care and research, ASCO has launched a new educational series focused on the role of social determinants of health in cancer care and cancer outcomes. The free series, which began October 21, is aimed at educating oncology trainees and early-career oncologists about social determinants of health and their impact on patients and cancer care.
Although the free series is geared toward oncology trainees and early-career faculty, all members of the oncology community are invited to access the information to increase familiarity with social determinants of health.
This ASCO educational series is just one of several activities inspired by the 2020–2021 presidential theme of ASCO President Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, “Equity: Every day. Every patient. Everywhere,” which puts a sharp focus on the need for the oncology community to confront and address the complex factors that lead to disparities in cancer care and research.
Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO
“As cancer care providers, we have a responsibility not just to study how biology affects disease progression, but also understand how social determinants affect the lives and cancer outcomes of our patients,” said Dr. Pierce. “Our work to develop and deliver cancer breakthroughs is all for naught if our patients don’t have transportation to access treatment, money to pay for it, or trust in the level of care they will receive.”
According to the World Health Organization, social determinants of health “are the nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.”1 These determinants, which can affect health equity, include income and education levels, food insecurity, structural conflict, and other factors, and can be more influential to a person’s health than health care received or lifestyle choices.
The first episode featured a discussion on the basics of social determinants of health with Dr. Pierce; ASCO Prevention Committee Chair Abenaa Brewster, MD, MHS; ASCO Health Equity Committee Chair Katie Reeder-Hayes, MD, MBA, MS; and moderator Ramy Sedhom, MD, a member of ASCO’s Trainee and Early Career Focus Group: Social Determinants of Health.
© 2020. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.
1. World Health Organization: Social determinants of health. Available at https://www.who.int/health-topics/social-determinants-of-health#tab=tab_1. Accessed November 20, 2020.