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CDC Awards Huntsman Cancer Institute $3 Million to Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening


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Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah has been awarded a 5-year, $3 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve Utah’s colorectal cancer screening rates. The program will build on an ongoing partnership between HCI’s Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity, the University of Utah’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, and the Association for Utah Community Health to deliver health information technology and evidence-based interventions to residents across the state who are most in need, including those who are uninsured and those living in poverty.

Customizing Interventions

Lower screening rates directly contribute to higher death rates from colorectal cancer,” said Guilherme Del Fiol, MD, PhD, a cancer researcher at HCI and Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Utah. “This funding ensures that more Utahns will have access to life-saving colorectal cancer screening, regardless of income, insurance status, or location. We have an enormous opportunity to improve access to preventive care through statewide collaboration and the optimal use of information technology interventions with electronic health record systems.”

Guilherme Del Fiol, MD, PhD

Guilherme Del Fiol, MD, PhD

The new project will use interventions to be implemented within electronic health records at community health centers. They include three customized interventions: provider reminders, provider assessment and feedback, and patient navigation. “Each of these interventions is evidence-based, building on years of expertise that has demonstrated real-world impact in clinical settings,” said Dr. Del Fiol. “We are eager to adapt this work and screen as many individuals as possible.”

Implementation will be carried out in phases, in partnership with dozens of community health centers and primary care clinics across the state, which provide comprehensive preventive care to more than 30,000 underserved patients, the majority of whom are not up to date on colorectal cancer screening. 


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