In Rhode Island (RI), about 6,240 malignant cancers were newly diagnosed and about 2,187 cancer deaths were reported annually, on average, during 2015-2019. Although overall cancer incidence and mortality rates in RI are decreasing, cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death. The RI Department of Health’s (RIDOH) applications to secure funding through CDC-RFA-DP-22-2022 propose to provide a comprehensive and coordinated approach to inform policy, systems, and environmental changes that decrease cancer burden statewide, with emphasis on targeting priority populations. This will be achieved through collaborative efforts among the RI Women’s Cancer Screening Program (RIWCSP), the RI Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (RICCCP), and the RI Cancer Registry (RICR). All three programs have built strong foundations through collaborative efforts and are well positioned to build upon these strengths to: 1) increase breast and cervical cancer screening among priority populations through the provision of direct services and implementation of evidence-based interventions, 2) conduct the cancer plan activities through a strong statewide cancer coalition, and 3) monitor cancer burden through surveillance, while aligning with the state’s blueprint, the RI Integrated Population Health Goals, to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity in the state.
The core of this work is the strong RICR data that drives the decisions of the cancer programs and the statewide cancer coalition, the Partnership to Reduce Cancer in RI. Activities throughout the applications are collaborative with the Colorectal Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke, WISEWOMAN, and Tobacco Programs. All these programs, as well as the RIDOH Health Equity Institute and Maternal and Child Health, Early Intervention, and Oral Health Programs have braided funding to collaboratively support Health Equity Zones statewide to address social and environmental determinants of health from a systems approach. The scope and complexity of cancer prevention and control is so large that success depends on this substantial collaboration from other, diverse institutions and individuals internally and from the community.
While RI has some of the highest breast and cervical cancer screening rates in the country, RICR data demonstrates that disparities persist in screening and cancer outcomes. Expanded partnerships with health systems and increased outreach efforts in collaboration with Health Equity Zones will increase breast and cervical screening among un- and underinsured women, as well as at-risk insured patients at federally qualified health centers and safety-net clinics. Other statewide partnerships assisting in this effort will include hospitals, outpatient clinics, radiology and laboratories sites, surgeons, women’s health centers, community- and faith-based organizations, and RI’s cancer coalition.
Working alongside the RICR and the RIWCSP, RICCCP’s proposed activities will include: 1/ increase the use and dissemination of cancer surveillance and population data; 2/ improving data collection to increase visibility of sexual and gender minorities in surveillance and population data; 3/ Implementing EBIs to increase lung cancer screening statewide and in federally qualified health centers 4/ implementing EBIs to prevent skin cancer in RI; and 5/ addressing cancer and cancer risk disparities among incarcerated adults and LGBTQ populations. In addition, the RICCCP will collaborate and leverage statewide evidence-based, PSE activities to address lung, colorectal, breast, skin, and prostate cancers; and RICR will provide systemic tools for statewide cancer monitoring and reporting. RICR will work to better understand RIers’ cancer prevention and control measures and modifiable risk factors, by implementing advanced data collections and utilizing public health surveillance sources.