Health Inequities Seminar Series

Scientists attending a seminar in the Knight Cancer Research Building

Free webinars about the impact of health inequities

CEDAR’s Health Inequities Seminar Series aims to build awareness and advance understanding about the impact systemic health inequities have on cancer early detection and treatment though interactive talks and discussion with leaders in the field.

All are welcome. 

Let's connect

Reach out with any questions or let us know if there's a speaker you'd recommend or a topic you'd like to see discussed here. 

Our latest event:

"Uncovering the Influence of Ancestry in Tumor Biology of Breast Cancer Disparities"

Melissa B. Davis, Ph.D.
Melissa B. Davis, Ph.D.

Presented by:

Melissa B. Davis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Breast Surgery and Oncology 
Scientific Director, International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes
Member, Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine
Weill Cornell Medical College

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022
1-2 p.m. PST

Dr. Davis is a molecular geneticist with expertise in genomics and systems biology. Her research focuses on discerning multifocal contributions to cancer risk and disparities in clinical oncology outcomes, and on linking this information back to genetic ancestry, particularly sub-Saharan West African ancestry. 

Her breast cancer research has identified that an African-ancestry allele and the recently discovered tumor expression of a gene named DARC (ACKR1) are linked to the tumor-specific immune/inflammatory response. Emerging findings from this project indicate that immune response in tumors of African Americans may be linked to worse clinical outcomes but also have potential for novel targeted therapies. 

Dr. Davis discussed the latest gene signatures associated with genetic ancestry and social constructs and how these may intersect to impact clinical outcomes in breast cancer.

Past events

Robert Winn, M.D.
Robert Winn, M.D.

Presented by:

Robert Winn, M.D.
Director and Lipman Chair in Oncology, VCU Massey Cancer Center
Senior Associate Dean for Cancer Innovation and Professor of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, VCU School of Medicine

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021
1-2 p.m. PDT

In 2020, the AACR’s U.S. Cancer Disparities Progress Report showed that there is still a significant gap in cancer incidence and mortality between white Americans and other racial and ethnic groups. That’s not because the science hasn’t progressed or because people of color are biologically predisposed to cancer. It’s because the systems and structures put in place decades ago continue to harm the health of racial and ethnic minorities.

When COVID-19 hit, many of us were not surprised that communities of color were disproportionately affected. The current situation with COVID-19 vaccines is a great demonstration that while science is necessary for improving health, it’s not sufficient. Those amazingly effective vaccines can’t keep hospitals from being overwhelmed if a large percentage of the population won’t get the shot, just as advances in cancer screening and treatment can’t end disparities if
they’re predominantly going to wealthy white people.

This realization has been one of our blind spots as scientists and physicians. Not only must we work toward equitable access to care, but we must also work on building trust in medicine, which we do by demonstrating that we’re trustworthy. There’s a science to it, though we’re going to have to allow for greater flexibility and messiness than we’re accustomed to.