There are significant cancer-related inequities – in diagnosis, treatment and mortality – among traditionally marginalized populations, including: those who are homeless, have a mental illness, live in poverty, or belong to a racial or ethnic minority. Health equity data shows significant disparities in cancer status in the communities where The Kraft Center focuses its work.

For much of its cancer care equity programming, The Kraft Center is partnering with The Trefler Foundation to develop and execute innovative solutions to address disparities. Cancer care equity is an issue that is near and dear to both the Kraft and Trefler families. Please check out this interview between Robert Kraft and Alan Trefler, Founder and CEO of Pegasystems Inc., as they discuss the importance of cancer research and early detection.

In 2018, The Kraft Center launched the Trefler Cancer Care Equity Grants Program to provide pilot funding to collaborative teams centering around community health centers in the Greater Boston area. These grants enabled community health centers to implement innovative, sustainable strategies to eliminate barriers to cancer screening and treatment for underserved populations. For more information, click here.

In 2019, building off the success of this program, The Kraft Center, in partnership with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, received a 5-year grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to create The Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity (ISCCCE). This statewide center allows for rapid-cycle testing of innovative approaches to cancer prevention and control in settings that serve populations with health disparities. Community health centers across Massachusetts are participating in the program to increase implementation science in community health settings and enable a range of studies on the adoption and implementation of cancer care equity strategies.

In addition, a three-tiered Implementation Laboratory (I-Lab) was created within ISCCCE to support activities, operations, capacity building, and data management within community health centers across Massachusetts. The Kraft Center has assembled a research, implementation, clinical, and community health team with experience in cancer prevention interventions, cancer care equity and community health improvement. The I-Lab supports the process of executing evidence-informed strategies into clinical practice by partnering with the community health centers to implement innovative pilot studies. In doing so, the I-Lab provides training, implementation facilitation and other types of capacity building support, such as providing access to a newly virtual learning platform and quarterly learning community meetings. Our ultimate goals are to advance implementation science in cancer prevention and control and to create an implementation science ecosystem that engages health centers in deploying evidence-based interventions for cancer prevention and control that will increase health equity.

With support from The Trefler Foundation, The Kraft Center, in partnership with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center, have launched the Virtual Equity Hub for Cancer Treatment within MGH. This is a clinical and technical assistance center embedded in the MGH Cancer Center, focused on patients with newly diagnosed breast and colorectal cancer served by community health centers in Massachusetts. The Hub will adapt and implement approaches that combine telehealth technology and person-centered engagement in order to increase access to quality cancer care.

The Trefler Program for Cancer Care Equity also continues to support projects aimed at reducing disparities in treatment and outcomes in cancer care in the Greater Boston area and beyond. For more information on the most recent cancer care equity projects, click here.