Programs addressing health disparities

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center programs that promote cancer prevention and detection while working to reach vulnerable populations.

EXPLORER. Cancer screening, diagnostics and treatment monitoring received a boost from the EXPLORER scanner created at UC Davis Health, which can capture a high-quality 3D image of the whole human body in the time of a single breath. EXPLORER is a combined positron emission tomography (PET) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanner. A recent supplemental grant, in collaboration with the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, is helping to bring the benefits of EXPLORER to racial and ethnic minorities in the region. With advice from our Community Outreach and Engagement Advisory Board, we are preparing YouTube videos to describe the benefits of total-body scans for the earlier detection of cancer in racial and ethnic minorities.

Hepatitis B screening, vaccination among Asians. Asian Americans comprise about 6% of the population but have about 60% of the burden of chronic hepatitis B, a viral infection that is one of the most common causes of liver cancer worldwide. At UC Davis, reducing the impact of hepatitis B has been a decade-long team science effort, and it’s working. Liver cancer is now the fifth leading cause of cancer in our region rather than the fourth.

UC Davis is partnering with the largest primary care provider of Southeast Asians in Sacramento County to increase hepatitis B surface antigen screening among pregnant women so that perinatal transmission of hepatitis B can be eliminated. Along with other efforts, END B, a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, will be helping spare the next generation from hepatitis B-linked liver cancer deaths.

CLOVER. Colon cancer, Lung cancer, Obesity, Vaccine-preventable illness and livER cancer help spell “CLOVER” and are responsible for a great deal of disease burden in people ages 50 and older. Erik Chak, assistant professor of gastroenterology and hepatology, is piloting a National Institutes of Health-funded pilot program to more efficiently bundle cancer screening and reduce cancer-related racial disparities. The program uses Epic Healthy Planet, a platform to manage complex patient data and optimize care.