Annual Meeting Focuses On Health Disparities And Minority Cancer Education

To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the American Association for Cancer Education (AACE) will focus its annual meeting on health disparities and minority cancer education.

AACE’s 2007 Annual Meeting is Oct. 11 – 13 at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, 2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North. The conference is subtitled “Cancer Education in Minority and Underserved Populations.”

The AACE meeting will draw 200 experts from the world’s major universities and health institutions, including cancer researchers, doctors and educators from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) schools of Public Health, Medicine and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Some attendees are expected to come from AACE’s sister organization, the European Association for Cancer Education.

“It really made sense to bring the conference to the Southeast since an important area of focus is minority health, cancer disparities and cancer education in underserved communities,” said AACE President-Elect John W. Waterbor, M.D., Dr.P.H., an associate professor in the UAB School of Public Health.

“Our university has a long-standing connection with AACE and its goals. Many UAB faculty and alumni share this commitment to enhancing cancer knowledge within the framework of medical schools, schools of public health and outreach,” Waterbor said.

Sessions will include discussions of the use of community partnerships to implement clinical trials, especially trials that boost enrollment for cancer studies aimed at reducing health disparities. Other sessions will focus on the cancer education needs of African American and Hispanic patients, and how the faculties of schools of medicine, health professions, education, nursing, social work, dentistry, osteopathy and other disciplines can better coordinate cancer education programs.

Study findings and practice guidelines to be reported at the annual meeting include:

* An overview of approaches for disseminating information and educating teens, young adults, parents and their physicians about vaccines to prevent infection from human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer.

* A symposium on the use of smokeless tobacco products and their health effects on patients compared to the effects of smoking.

* A ‘how-to’ workshop teaching cultural competency in palliative and end-of-life care for those who work with cancer patients and survivors.

Sharing ideas about health disparities and minority cancer education is crucial to reducing unequal burdens in prevention and medical care, said C. Michael Brooks, Ed.D., a professor in UAB’s School of Health Professions and the local arrangements for AACE’s 2007 annual meeting.

For instance, data show that many racial and ethnic minorities and medically underserved groups are more likely to develop cancer and die from the disease than the general U.S. population. Research also shows that uninsured patients are more likely to be diagnosed and treated for cancer at late stages of disease, and that they’re more likely to receive less-than-optimal care.

“More than anything else these disparate numbers are issues that cancer educators and health care leaders nationwide must confront, and hopefully reverse,” Brooks said.

In addition to workshops, symposia, poster sessions and podium presentations, the conference will include a ceremony to announce 2007 Margaret Hay Edwards Achievement Medal recipient. The award was established in 1986 to honor an individual who has made outstanding national or international contributions to cancer education.

AACE conferees will also be encouraged to participate in the 2007 Komen Race for the Cure 5K run and fitness walk on Saturday morning at Birmingham’s Linn Park.

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AACE was founded in 1947 as the Cancer Coordinators, an association of cancer educators from medical and dental schools that met annually to discuss topics and practices of mutual interest. The group reorganized under its present name, the AACE, in 1966 with the core mission of promoting cancer education and giving its members opportunities to advance their programs for cancer prevention, early detection, therapy and rehabilitation.

The association publishes the Journal of Cancer Education and maintains http://www.aaceonline, where the agenda for the 2007 annual meeting, and other information is found.

Source: Troy Goodman

University of Alabama at Birmingham

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