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ACS Is Dedicated to Fighting Health Disparities

By Jake Konigsberg

Diversity and Inclusion

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is committed to reducing the disparities in cancer care. ACS firmly believes everyone deserves an equal opportunity to live a healthy life undeterred by a cancer diagnosis. There are many ways a person could be disadvantaged to receiving equal healthcare, such as their race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, disability status, or even where they live. The prevalent discrepancies are often based on socioeconomic status and ethnicity. For example, cancer mortality rates are higher for African Americans than White, with African American males having a 36% higher chance of mortality from cancer than White males. ACS is constantly implementing new strategies and techniques to help break down these barriers. For instance, to help foster this community of equal access and cultural awareness, ACS staff members undergo inclusion and diversity training which includes a comprehensive review of specific communities, eliminating unconscious bias, and a self-assessment on cultural awareness.

 

Reaching Multicultural Communities

ACS hopes to disseminate information to all communities regardless of race, religion, and economic status. To help achieve this goal, ACS partners with various faith and social organizations geared towards such groups. Some partners include:

  • CenterLink – to help reach the LGBTQ+ community

  • African Methodist Episcopal Church – to assist in working with the African American community

  • The Links, Incorporated – to spread public health advocacy

Click here to learn more about ACS partnerships to help reach all communities.

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How ACS Supports Multicultural Communities

ACS’s partner organization, ACS CAN, partakes in advocacy for various public policy initiatives. Such initiatives include ensuring all Americans have access to cancer care, whether it be screening or cheaper treatments. One specific initiative is the fight for affordable healthcare. Studies have shown that uninsured people have a significantly higher likelihood of having cancer diagnosed at a more advanced stage leading to more significant expenses and worsened prospects. By ensuring everyone has equal, affordable, and available options to maximize their likelihood of survival from cancer, the fight against cancer will be significantly advanced. To learn more about this initiative, go here.

ACS also works on funding and sponsoring research efforts to find a cure for cancer and reduce disparities across diverse and multicultural populations because everyone is affected by cancer. Specific measures focus on encouraging minorities to participate in research and analyzing the effects of cancer care disparities. To learn more about such aims, click here.

ACS vehemently believes that no obstacle, no matter how big or small, should stand in the way of one’s access to necessary information about cancer. Therefore, ACS provides its informational resources in 14 different languages. ACS also directs users to other organizations that provide cancer care information in alternative languages. These organizations and language options are discussed here.

 

How You Can Get Involved

You can help increase the diversity and inclusion of cancer care in many ways. One unique way is by joining ACS. You can do so by sampling the available jobs at ACS, as the more perspectives and backgrounds incorporated into the ACS team, the better we can be at meeting the needs of all societal members. You can find such jobs or internships here. You can also join the fighting cancer team by engaging in research efforts. Research is a diverse field ranging from testing cancer treatments to analyzing the social effects of cancer; therefore, an inclusive set of researchers ensure that all communities are engaged in the scientific expeditions. Just as importantly, for social science studies investigating disparities and inequities, members from marginalized communities can bring a necessary perspective and bring light to a specific issue. To encourage greater diversity in the field of research, ACS is targeting impressionable youths by funding and publicizing research programs. More information about these programs is located here.

Lastly, you can lobby your government officials to make cancer care accessible and affordable. One specific initiative is getting Congress to extend the expansion of the Affordable Health Care, which expires at the end of 2022. You can personalize the ACS email template found here to achieve this goal. ACS CAN also has many initiatives that can be found here, such as oral chemotherapies and increased access to Medicaid.