Research & Training

Reducing Cancer Disparities

Scientific Goals

The need to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities is a national goal by the year 2010, and goes across a broad range of health professions and sciences. The source of disparities among people of color, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups in the USA is complex -- associated with health behavior, poverty, low education, comorbidity, and gaps in healthcare delivery. The non-white population experiences vast economic and educational disadvantages when compared with non-Hispanic Whites.

Investigators in the Reducing Cancer Disparities research program are examining behavioral factors in reducing risk factors, and increasing screening and medical care utilization among diverse, poor, vulnerable and underserved communities, especially those of the Southern California region.

Overall goals focus on improving the current knowledge base to promote reductions in disparities in cancer risk, incidence, and related health services.

  • Reduce disparities in tobacco consumption and related problems in disadvantaged populations through direct behavior change, policy implementation and enforcement.
  • Improve other lifestyle patterns in disadvantaged populations known to be protective against cancer.
  • Adapt or innovate community interventions to reduce cancer disparities.
  • Identify sociocultural, developmental and other factors that contribute to or prevent against the onset of cancer risk-related behaviors, and thus to improve the identification of barriers to participation in risk reduction programs, and to accessing screening and treatment services among diverse, disadvantaged, or vulnerable individuals.
Fluorescent Imaging of Cell 

Elena Martinez, PhD

Dr. Elena Martinez

UC San Diego
Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health

John P. Elder, PhD, MPH

John P. Elder, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health
Distinguished Professor of Public Health, San Diego State University