Latin American Cancer Research Coalition
There are approximately 36 million Latinos known to be living in the United States, and by the year 2050, this group will constitute 25 percent of the U.S. population. Cancer is the second leading cause of death among this rapidly growing minority group. Latinos have higher rates of cancers with infectious etiologies. For other sites, despite lower incidence, Latinos have more late-stage diagnoses, higher mortality-to-incidence ratios, and inferior survival compared with Caucasians. Lifestyle changes associated with acculturation may increase future cancer risks. The greater Washington-Baltimore tristate region (DC, Maryland, Virginia) has one of the largest urban concentrations of Latinos in the United States. Latinos in this region are predominately of Central and South American ancestry, recently immigrated, uninsured, and largely monolingual. We developed the Latin American Cancer Research Coalition (LACRC) as a local network in Washington, DC, to address the unique needs of this Latino subgroup. In our first 4 years, the LACRC trained community coordinators, students, and faculty; submitted an R25T postdoctoral grant; obtained pilot and career development funding; published manuscripts; and disseminated results to the community. We propose to expand the LACRC as a regional network. The overarching goal of this regional network is to document, understand, and reduce cancer disparities in Latinos. LACRC partners include multidisciplinary, multicultural, and bilingual researchers and staff from the Washington Hospital Center/Cancer Institute; Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University; 19 community safety-net clinics across our region; the Inova-Fairfax community hospital; and consultants and advisors from the regional Departments of Health and Tumor Registries, the Council of Latino Agencies, the National Council of La Raza, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the regional NCI Cancer Information Service and Spanish-language support line, the American Cancer Society, and others. LACRC's aims are to: (1) enhance capacity, especially for data collection on Latinos; (2) use the PRECEDE-PROCEED model to guide participatory research and use results to inform education, training, and planning; and (3) obtain funding, influence policy, and evaluate progress. The structure of the LACRC is ideally suited as a platform for bridging the gaps between research discovery and delivery and for developing, evaluating, and disseminating culturally competent interventions across the spectrum of cancer control. Our approach should be broadly portable to reducing disparities in other U.S. urban Latino communities.