Socioeconomic Status Related Cancer Disparities Program (SESRCD)
Following five successful years, the Office on Socioeconomic Status (OSES) sunset its grant funded collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Aug. 31, 2013.
Administered through the APA Public Interest Directorate, the SESRCD Program was a national initiative to build the capacity of community cancer-serving organizations to address health disparities in cancer through the adaptation and utilization of evidence-based cancer prevention and control efforts for socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.
SESRCD maintained that irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are disproportionately affected by cancer and have lower survival rates than their more socioeconomically affluent counterparts. In an effort to address cancer health disparities and to assist in efforts to meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 goal of eliminating cancer health disparities, in 2008, APA entered into a five year cooperative agreement with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (CDC-DCPC) to implement the Socioeconomic Status Related Cancer Disparities Program (SESRCD).
To strengthen the capacity of community cancer-serving organizations and stakeholders to access, adopt and utilize evidence and practice-based strategies to improve cancer prevention, early-detection and survivorship in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.
The primary goals of the SESRCD Program were to:
- Establish and maintain the infrastructure and strategic guidance necessary to support the systematic development and effective implementation of SESRCD activities.
- Develop and sustain a network of Behavioral and Social Science Volunteers (BSSVs) who provide community cancer-serving organizations and stakeholders with individualized capacity building assistance to access, adopt, adapt and utilize evidence-/practice-based strategies in addressing Socioeconomic Status (SES)-related cancer disparities.
- Develop, publish and disseminate a nationwide Professional Development Training Resource (PDTR) workshop designed to:
- Increase participants' intentions to act on, and advocate for, systemic organizational climate change that facilitates the initiation and/or improvement of professional services that address SES-related cancer disparities
- Provide participants with a process for carrying out their increased intentions to improve cancer prevention and control among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations
- Develop and maintain a web-based network of community cancer serving organizations, stakeholders, and BSSVs to disseminate and translate professional development training activities into practice.
In 1971, United States Congress passed the National Cancer Act to advance the national effort against cancer, yet despite advances in the implementation of cancer prevention, early detection and treatment strategies, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the U.S. today. Additionally, stark disparities in cancer incidence and mortality are seen across socioeconomic and minority lines across the country, and are often caused by a complex interplay of social position, economic status, culture and environment (NCI, 2008). Socioeconomic indicators such as income, education and health insurance coverage influence cancer risk factors including, tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity (Institute of Medicine, 2003). For instance, for all cancers combined, residents of counties in the U.S. with a greater than 20 percent poverty rate have a 13 percent higher death rate in men and 3 percent higher death rate in women (Ward et al., 2004).
In response to growing public awareness about health disparities across the entire health spectrum, one of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services overarching goals for Healthy People 2020 is to "to achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups, regardless of differences that occur by gender, race or ethnicity, education or income, disability, geographic location, or sexual orientation." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a leader in nationwide efforts to fulfill this goal of Healthy People 2020 as it relates specifically to the burden of cancer. The CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (CDC-DCPC) strives to "promote health equity as it relates to cancer control" and works with national cancer organizations, state health agencies and other key stakeholders to develop, implement and promote effective strategies for preventing and controlling cancer.
In an effort to assist national organizations develop, enhance and coordinate cancer prevention and control activities for underserved populations, CDC-DCPC issued program announcement DP08-815: National Organization Activities for Cancer Control in Underserved Populations in 2008. APA OSES responded to this announcement and was subsequently awarded a cooperative agreement to implement the SESRCD Program, modeled after long-standing successful APA-CDC collaborations such as the Behavioral and Social Science Volunteer (BSSV) Program (funded by CDC's Division on HIV and AIDS Prevention) and the Safe and Supportive Schools Project (funded by CDC's Division on Adolescent School Health).
In line with Healthy People 2020, SESRCD focuses its efforts on socioeconomically disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately affected by cancer and have lower survival rates than their more socioeconomically affluent counterparts. Although national in scope, SESRCD aims to be local in impact by conducting professional development training resource workshops, drawing on the expertise of a diverse national network of Behavioral and Social Science Volunteers (BSSVs), providing limited mini-grant funding, and encouraging collaborations through the use of an online web-based messaging forum. SESRCD aims to integrate theoretical research knowledge with real world applications and community action to forge strategic partnerships, mobilize existing community assets and use evidence-/practice-based strategies to impact systems that improve health outcomes and reduce cancer disparities in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.
CDC. (2008/2009). Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Facts (PDF, 236 KB).
National Cancer Institute. (2008). Cancer Health Disparities.
Institute of Medicine. (2003). Unequal treatment: confronting racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
Ward, E., Jemal, A., Cokkinides, V., Singh, G.K., Cardinez, C., Ghafoor, A., and Thun, M. (2004). Cancer disparities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 54(2), 78-93.
News & Events
View the Planning and Conducting Focus Groups in Community-based Organizations webinar recording. This webinar describes:
- The advantages and limitations of using focus groups.
- How to adapt this technique to diverse special settings.
- Ways to interpret and summarize the findings.
Planning and Conducting Focus Groups in Community-based Organizations presentation (PDF, 1.41 MB)
The webinar was presented by Martha-Ann Carey, PhD, RN, consultant at Kells Consulting and Patricia Shane, PhD, MPH, professor, social, behavioral and administrative sciences at College Touro University.
- The advantages and limitations of using focus groups.
An important component of the SESRCD Program's mission to build the capacity of cancer serving organizations includes mini-grant funding. Each year through a competitive process, the program awards organizations that are working to reduce cancer disparities in underserved populations with a mini-grant. View the links to see the various organizations that have been awarded with a mini-grant and the projects they completed. Learn about the organizations and the types of projects that have been funded in the past: Year Two SESRCD Mini-Grant Awards (PDF, 84KB); Year Three SESRCD Mini-Grant Awards (PDF, 384KB); Year Four SESRCD Mini-Grant Awards (PDF, 384KB).
SESRCD conducted several Professional Development Training Resource workshops in December 2012, in the following cities: Salt Lake City; Columbia, S.C.; and Seattle. Workshop collaborators included: Utah Department of Health Cancer Control Program, the Utah Cancer Action Network, Washington Cares About Cancer Partnership, Washington Department of Health, Healthy Communities Washington, the University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, South Carolina Cancer Alliance, Gibbs Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society, South-Atlantic Division. The SESRCD Program reached 80 passionate professionals from 54 different community-based cancer organizations in these various cities. Workshop participants commented that the workshop was a "fabulous mix of content, sharing, [and] interaction in small groups" and, "The advocacy piece was very helpful."
On Sept. 27, 2011, the SESRCD Program held their first webinar on Psychosocial Health Disparities Among Cancer Patients: Understanding the Influence of Race, Ethnicity and SES on Mental Health Service Utilization. The webinar was presented by Dr. Kathy Canul, who is the director of Ombuds Services at UCLA and a BSSV of the SESRCD Program. There were 120 webinar attendees from various health and psychology backgrounds.
Powerpoint presentation (PDF, 176KB)
Fact: “Every year, at least seven million people die from cancer [worldwide], more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. And almost half of these deaths are avoidable.” (WHO, 2007).
Fact: In the United States, one in two individuals will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime and in 2008 alone 565,650 people were estimated to have died from cancer. (Ries et al. 2005).
Fact: Socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals are disproportionately affected by cancer in the United States:
For all cancers combined, residents of counties in the U.S. with a greater than 20 percent poverty rate have a 13 percent higher death rate in men and 3 percent higher death rate in women (Ward et al., 2004).
Among people who develop cancer, the five-year survival rate is more than 10 percentage points higher for persons who live in affluent census tracts than for persons who live in poorer census tracts (Singh et al., 2003).
Regardless of race/ethnicity, men and women whose income is less than twice the poverty level are much more likely to be current smokers than those with higher incomes. These disparities result in part from targeted promotion and advertising by cigarette companies (Singh et al., 2003).
It has been estimated that between 2.4 percent and 4.8 percent of all U.S. cancer deaths are occupationally related. Most of these deaths are due to lung cancer, bladder cancer and mesothelioma. Exposure to many known occupational carcinogens, such as asbestos, is concentrated among manual and industrial workers, which may contribute to differences in cancer incidence by socioeconomic status (Singh et al., 2003).
For the four cancer sites for which screening is widely recommended or practiced (colorectal, female breast, cervix and prostate), the proportion of cases diagnosed at localized stage is lower and the proportion diagnosed at distant stage is higher in high-poverty compared with low-poverty census tracts (Singh et al., 2003).
Fact: The United States Health and Human Services has made eliminating all health disparities including cancer disparities a major goal of Healthy People 2010.
Ries, L.A.G, Melbert, D., Krapcho, M., Stinchcomb, D.G., Howlader, N., Horner, M.J., Mariotto, A., Miller, B.A., Feuer, E.J., Altekruse, S.F., Lewis, D.R., Clegg, L., Eisner, M.P., Reichman, M., Edwards, B.K. (eds). (2008). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2005, Bethesda, Md.: National Cancer Institute.
Singh G.K., Miller B.A., Hankey B.F., Edwards B.K. (2003). Area socioeconomic variations in U.S. cancer incidence, mortality, stage, treatment, and survival, 1975–1999 (PDF, 2.8 MB). NCI Cancer Surveillance Monograph Series, Number 4. Bethesda, Md.: National Cancer Institute. NIH Publication No. 03-0000.
Singh G.K., B.A. Miller, B.F. Hankey, E.J. Feuer, L.W. Pickle (2002). Changing area Socioeconomic patterns in U.S. cancer mortality, 1950-1998: Part I – All cancers among men. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 94(12), 904–915.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2000). Healthy people 2010: Understanding and improving health. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
WHO. (2007). The World Health’s Organization’s fight against cancer: Strategies that prevent, cure, and care (PDF, 2.56 MB). Geneva: WHO Press.
SESRCD Professional Development Training Workshops
As part of our program activities, SESRCD offered a free, full-day workshop training for cancer-serving organizations seeking to initiate or improve their programs and services for underserved populations. Workshops were conducted in collaboration with state cancer coalitions, state health departments and other local stakeholders, and give participants a comprehensive, interactive understanding of evidence-based research and practice when providing services in cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. For more information, visit SESRCD's Professional Development Training workshop page.
In 2011, in collaboration with local and state cancer stakeholders, SESRCD successfully conducted workshops in the following nine U.S. locations:, Springfield, Ill.; Raleigh, N.C.; Boston, Mass.; Baltimore, Md.; Atlanta, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisc.; and Minneapolis, Minn. As a result of participating in these workshops, more than 25 community-based organizations received SESRCD mini-grant funding up to $5,000 as part of the program’s capacity building resources.
In 2010, with the help of local and state cancer coalition officials, SESRCD successfully conducted workshops in the following five U.S. locations: Dallas, Texas; Chicago, Ill.; San Diego, Calif; Long Island, N.Y.; and Philadelphia, Pa.). Additionally, as a result of participating in these workshops, ten community-based organizations received SESRCD mini-grant funding up to $5,000 as part of our program’s capacity building services.
The National Translation and Dissemination Network (NTDN)
Together with the Kansas University (KU) Work Group for Community Health and Development, SESRCD created the National Translation and Dissemination Network (NTDN), a members-only online forum created to promote communication, collaboration and coordination among stakeholders in the SESRCD Program. Accessed only by SESRCD staff, BSSVs and workshop participants, the NTDN serves as a central portal where members access important evidence-based resources, connect with professional peers across the country, and participate in regularly scheduled online discussions on timely articles on socioeconomic disparities in cancer.
The customized workstation provides integrated support for building capacity, documenting and evaluating efforts and co-learning within and among other community cancer serving organizations and BSSVs. More specifically, SESRCD’s NTDN allows members to:
Post and collaborate on documents with other community cancer serving organizations and BSSVs
Post and respond to ideas and discussion topics regarding comprehensive cancer control efforts among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations
Pose questions to SESRCD staff and BSSVs and share the response with others
Document and track members’ progress implementing cancer control programs and services among underserved populations
Receive up-to-date information on the latest published articles and grant funding announcements
Participate in online “live” Journal Club discussion about timely, relevant articles on socioeconomic disparities in cancer.
Access the Community Toolbox (CTB) which has over 7,000 pages of how-to information relevant to 16 core competencies (example topics include “Sustaining the Work or Initiative,” “Creating and Maintaining Coalitions and Partnerships,” etc.)
Gaining Access to the NTDN
At this time, content on SESRCD’s NTDN is secure and only available to those organizations who have participated in an SESRCD workshop, SESRCD staff and BSSVs. If you would like further information on how to qualify for access, please email SESRCD.
General Cancer and Health Disparities Related Resources
Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. (Plan, Link, Act, Network with Evidence-based Tools) links to comprehensive cancer control resources for public health professionals
Following five successful years, the Office on Socioeconomic Status (OSES) sunset its grant funded collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Aug. 31, 2013. The Socioeconomic Status Related Cancer Disparities (SESRCD) program, a national initiative to build the capacity of community cancer-serving organizations to address health disparities in treatment.
Shalini Parekh, MPH
Keyona King-Tsikata, MPH
Office on Socioeconomic Status
American Psychological Association
750 First St. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002-4242
Phone: (202) 218-3589
Fax: (202) 336-6198