Stephanie Wheeler, PhD, MPH; Ronny Antonio Bell, PhD; Omotomilayo (Tomi) Feyisayo Akinyemiju, PhD

Funded by the 2021 Victory Ride to Cure Cancer

North Carolina (NC) has the largest American Indian population east of the Mississippi River. Yet, we do not know much about the health and health care of NC American Indians. Because cancer is the number one cause of death in NC American Indians, we need to better understand cancer and cancer-related needs in this unique population in order to reduce the cancer burden. Three NC cancer centers joined together in 2021 to partner and learn more about how to help American Indians with cancer. We also want to find and develop community resources for American Indians with cancer in North Carolina.

In this study, we will explore how cancer affects American Indians in North Carolina. First, we will measure the number of cancer diagnoses and deaths from 2003-2019. We will also learn more about how and where American Indians receive cancer care. These data will come from the North Carolina Cancer Registry and health insurance files. Second, we will ask tribal leaders to help us explore the needs and barriers to healthcare in American Indian communities. Finally, we will work with American Indian youth leaders to understand tribal community strengths and local resources that can help with cancer care.

This information will help American Indians by showing where the greatest needs lie and pointing to opportunities for better care, with a long-term goal of improving cancer outcomes in all American Indians.

Location: Collaborative research between UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Duke Cancer Institute - North Carolina
Proposal: Understanding Cancer Health Disparities Among American Indians in North Carolina
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