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ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute Seeks Community Partners to Reduce Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer in Delaware

ChristianaCare’s Cawley Center for Translational Cancer Research at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute is seeking applications from Delaware community-based organizations to support research strategies designed to reduce racial disparities in breast cancer in the state.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and second leading cause of cancer mortality for women overall. Even though Black and white women are diagnosed with breast cancer at similar rates, Black women die at a 40% greater rate from breast cancer. And Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age and advanced stage, highlighting the importance of improving screening and early detection.

“This Breast Cancer Research project aims to eliminate racial disparities in breast cancer in Delaware,” said Scott Siegel, Ph.D., MHCDS, director of Cancer Control & Population Sciences at ChristianaCare. “To help in this effort, we are seeking to partner with community-based or non-profit organizations that have the capacity to work with racial and ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups through education, advocacy and awareness campaigns. We hope these partnerships help seed a long-term relationship.”

Funding for the research comes from a $309,285 grant from the National Institutes of Health to detect epigenetic risk biomarkers for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive form of breast cancer that appears in women at a younger age and is twice as prevalent among Black women. Identifying a risk biomarker will help prioritize women for earlier screening and other prevention programs to close racial disparities in breast cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Delaware leads the country in incidences of late-stage breast cancer among women younger than 50. The state also leads nationwide in rates of TNBC among Black women and has the largest racial disparity in TNBC incidences.

“Our community partners will work with us to develop and design research strategies to reduce these racial disparities,” said Jennifer Sims-Mourtada, Ph.D., lead scientist at ChristianaCare’s Cawley Center for Translational Cancer Research. “Activities would include attending the ChristianaCare Breast Community Research Advisory Board meetings and reviewing recruitment materials and advertisements to ensure they are culturally appropriate. In addition, they will also review new research proposals to ensure the community perspective is well represented.”

Siegel and other research clinicians at ChristianaCare recently issued a call to action for community members, health care providers and other stakeholders in Delaware to partner together to address disparities in breast cancer. They pointed to a similar model adopted ten years ago that eliminated the incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer between Black and white Delawareans.

Successful applicants for the Breast Cancer Research project may receive a one-time award up to $15,000.

For more information about the project or to submit an application, visit Breast Cancer Research. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Dec. 8, 2023 at Contracted work will be for the January-April 2023 period.


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About ChristianaCare

Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, ChristianaCare is one of the country’s most dynamic health care organizations, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible and lowering health care costs. ChristianaCare includes an extensive network of primary care and outpatient services, home health care, urgent care centers, three hospitals (1,430 beds), a freestanding emergency department, a Level I trauma center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a comprehensive stroke center and regional centers of excellence in heart and vascular care, cancer care and women’s health. It also includes the pioneering Gene Editing Institute.

ChristianaCare is nationally recognized as a great place to work, rated by Forbes as the 2nd best health system for diversity and inclusion, and the 29th best health system to work for in the United States, and by IDG Computerworld as one of the nation’s Best Places to Work in IT. ChristianaCare is rated by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals and continually ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek and other national quality ratings. ChristianaCare is a nonprofit teaching health system with more than 260 residents and fellows. With its groundbreaking Center for Virtual Health and a focus on population health and value-based care, ChristianaCare is shaping the future of health care.

About the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute
The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program, is part of the ChristianaCare, one of the country’s most dynamic health systems, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible and lowering health care costs. With more than 245,000 patient visits last year, the Graham Cancer Center is recognized as a national model for multidisciplinary cancer care and a top enroller in U.S. clinical research trials. In conjunction with the Gene Editing Institute, the Center for Translational Cancer Research, the Tissue Procurement Center, statewide High-Risk Family Cancer Registry and collaborations with world-renowned scientists at facilities such as The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia scientists are opening new avenues to more quickly translate cancer science into cancer medicine. For more information, visit

About the Cawley Center for Translational Cancer Research
The Cawley Center for Translational Cancer Research (CTCR) at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute moves research from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside by applying basic science toward potential therapies. The Cawley CTCR is where scientists study the molecular causes of cancer, tissue engineering and gene editing, all targeted to better treatment for patients. Groundbreaking findings and current studies at the center are helping to prevent, better detect and stop the growth of many cancers — and as a result reducing cancer incidence and mortality rates in Delaware.