Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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$17.7 Million ChicagoCHEC Grant Will Continue to Address Cancer Equity in Chicago


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a $17.7 million grant renewal to the Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (ChicagoCHEC). The five-year grant will help three Chicago universities enhance their partnerships in many of the city’s underserved communities, and strengthen their efforts to foster meaningful cancer research, education, training and outreach.

Established to advance cancer health equity in the city of Chicago, ChicagoCHEC brings together the synergistic strengths of a NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University with two federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institutions, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU).

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago communities that are low-income, or predominantly African-American or Latino, face cancer death rates up to double the national average. The efforts of ChicagoCHEC will continue to be led by community-oriented physician-scientists and researchers:

  • Melissa Simon, MD, MPH, the George H. Gardner, MD, Professor of Clinical Gynecology, director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation, and co-leader of the Cancer Control and Survivorship Program at the Lurie Cancer Center, and Joseph Feinglass, PhD, research professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University
  • Marian Fitzgibbon, PhD, professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy and Administration, associate director of the Population Health, Behavior and Outcomes Program, and John Stewart, MD, MBA, professor of Surgery, associate director for Clinical Research in the Department of Surgery at the University of Illinois Chicago
  • Christina Ciecierski, PhD, professor of Economics, and Lidia Filus, Ph.D. professor and chair of Mathematics at Northeastern Illinois University

The original U54 grant from the NCI was announced in October 2015. Building on the momentum of the first five years, ChicagoCHEC plans to engage communities that are disproportionately impacted by cancer health inequities in Chicago with cancer-related programs and outreach activities. In addition, the collaborative will coordinate research, education and mentoring opportunities to advance a pipeline of diverse students and early career faculty in cancer research careers. Lastly, ChicagoCHEC will continue to advance cancer health equity across the city by leveraging resources from all three universities involved in this unique tri-institutional partnership.

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In this video recorded before March 2020, Simon discusses ChicagoCHEC, a NCI-funded partnership led by the Lurie Cancer Center, NEIU and UIC to advance cancer health equity across the city.