Yale Cancer Center

Yale Cancer Center a NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, received a $1 million grant to build a Cancer Disparities Firewall to develop and implement bioinformatics tools, longitudinal patient navigation, clinical partnerships with community primary care providers and community health worker outreach to remove barriers to optimal cancer treatment and care in New Haven County targeting lung, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer. Yale School of Public Health is a funding and collaborating partner and is contributing $116,734.


In 2017, the National Cancer Institute updated the Comprehensive Cancer Center accreditation and renewal applications to include an expanded and scored section on health equity. As a NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the catchment area of the Yale Cancer Center is the state of Connecticut and its “neighborhood” catchment area is New Haven County. The age-adjusted cancer incidence rate (2010-2014) in Connecticut is 7th highest in the US. New Haven County’s cancer incidence are the highest in the state and demographically, New Haven is projected to shift its racial demographics to “minority-majority” by 2044. The city’s socioeconomic differences are also striking with 27% of New Haven residents living below the federal poverty level. 


Yale Cancer Center’s “Cancer Disparities Firewall” pilot project is a multilevel intervention to address patient, community, and system level factors that contribute to cancer disparities impacting Yale Cancer Center’s neighborhood catchment area. Targeting the highest incidence cancers of lung, breast, colorectal, and prostrate, it will apply a health equity lens to leverage and enhance a number of existing community education and clinical improvement programs that have not included a focus on cancer and/or engagement of Yale Cancer Center clinicians. The “Cancer Disparities Firewall” is built on two primary intervention strategies: 1) outreach focused on the community to inform and connect high risk populations to screening, optimal treatment and clinical trials; and 2) longitudinal patient navigation that supports patients throughout the continuum of care. These strategies are supported by new clinical partnerships between YCC oncologists and community clinicians and bioinformatics to strengthen multiprovider care collaboration, culturally competent shared decision making, and reduce patient loss to follow up. The end goal is to improve cancer outcomes for all and eliminate observed disparities.

Project Leader

Beth Jones, beth.jones@yale.edu