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Community IMPACT: Reducing Cancer and Improving Health Outcomes in Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Understanding cancer disparities in Philadelphia

Image of a Philadelphia neighborhood photographed from above


Cancer remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in minority and disadvantaged urban communities. A number of factors contribute to this increased burden, including a greater incidence of cancer (resulting at least in part from cancer related exposures and adverse health behaviors linked to social and environmental conditions); delayed diagnosis and treatment; and poorer outcomes of care. Despite this large cancer-related morbidity and mortality, the disease often receives less attention than other chronic diseases in these communities. Our aim is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the burden of cancer across Philadelphia neighborhoods paying special attention to quantifying disparities in cancer by neighborhood, race, and socioeconomic characteristics.

The Urban Health Collaborative will leverage its robust data resources and analysis capabilities to look at the burden of cancer in Philadelphia and its neighborhoods to identify disparities in cancer outcomes and incidence by neighborhood, race and socioeconomic characteristics. In addition, the team will examine cancer risk factors, including smoking, obesity and diet, as well as the use of cancer screening, including breast and colon cancer screening in the city. The Urban Health Collaborative will disseminate its findings to the broader Philadelphia region to provide neighborhood cancer data for public health in the city as well as make the information accessible for empowering community residents.


Lazarex Cancer Foundation, Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel Community Wellness HUB, Drexel College of Medicine, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Research Methods

We will use novel methods for small area estimation to derive neighborhood-level measures and create maps and other visual displays and study the associations of neighborhood-level factors with social and environmental characteristics across the city. We will also quantify disparities in cancer outcomes by race/ethnicity, immigration, and socioeconomic characteristics.

Research Results

Results will be reported in scientific publications and made accessible to a broader audience. Thus the data we create will not only enhance scientific understanding and provide valuable tracking data for public health in the city but also provide empowering information to communities.


Research Team:

  • Binod Acharya, MS; Data Analyst; Urban Health Collaborative
  • Cheryl Bettigole, MD; Director, Chronic Disease Prevention; Philadelphia Department of Public Health
  • Jim Buehler, MD; Clinical Professor; Health Management and Policy, Urban Health Collaborative
  • Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH; Dean and Distinguished University Professor of Epidemiology; Dean's Office, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Urban Health Collaborative
  • Sarah Greer, MS; Communications Manager; Urban Health Collaborative
  • Katie Livengood, MPH; Assistant director; Urban Health Collaborative
  • Shannon Lynch, PhD, MPH; Assistant Professor; Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Steve Melly, MS, MA; GIS Specialist; Urban Health Collaborative
  • Kari Moore, Director of Data and Analysis; Urban Health Collaborative
  • Gabrielle Mullins, Master's Fellow
  • Harrison Quick, PhD; Assistant Professor; Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Heather Rollins, MS, Data Analyst; Urban Health Collaborative
  • Raynard Washington, PhD, MPH; Chief Epidemiologist; Philadelphia Department of Public Health


Funding for Community IMPACT is provided by Lazarex Cancer Foundation