Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team - Stand Up To Cancer

Dream Teams

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SU2C Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team: Community Collaboration to Advance Racial/Ethnic Equity in CRC Screening

September 2021 – August 2024

The SU2C Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team will identify communities near anchor institutions that serve minority and medically underserved communities, pinpoint the unique local needs of those areas, and turn participating at-risk communities into “Stand Up To Cancer Zones” with high rates of colorectal cancer screening. The Dream Team will provide free colorectal cancer testing in the identified zones and will study screening completed via approved tests for colorectal cancer, including primarily colonoscopy and at-home stool tests that analyze fecal DNA and/or blood. The Team also will deploy community health action teams to accompany patients from screening to treatment, and study the effectiveness of this approach. The research will aim to develop better approaches to colorectal cancer interception.

Supported by:


Screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) reduces the chances of dying from CRC, yet screening rates are low, particularly in low income and racial/ethnic minority individuals, resulting in higher death rates in these groups. Compounding this inequity, patients at risk for the worst CRC outcomes are less likely to participate in research focused on improving early detection methods and “precision” prevention (i.e., development of new biological and genetic markers for CRC and its precursors in blood and stool samples).

This Team will bring together leading researchers, patient advocates, community leaders, and clinicians to compare the effectiveness and feasibility of two approaches to improve CRC screening in safety net settings and to collect data that can be used to develop new early detection methods. Each person selected to join this Dream Team brings a deep understanding of racial/ethnic minority communities and health equity regionally and nationally.

The Team will establish three SU2C Zones – Greater Boston, Los Angeles, and Tribal Nations in South Dakota- focused on critical steps necessary to reduce the burden of CRC, paving the way for national efforts to effectively address screening barriers for racial/ethnic minority communities across the country.

The Team will also design and deploy a community-based campaign to increase CRC screening rates in a demographically diverse impact zone within Los Angeles County, CA. They will recruit and deploy community health action teams (CHATs) – residents trained and supported to work as health promoters and care navigators within their own neighborhoods – to implement a locally designed and operated CRC screening campaign and, when necessary, accompany patients along the journey from screening to treatment. In parallel with the intervention, CHATs will also partner with the Dream Team on a longitudinal, integrated mixed methods research study to systematically test the effectiveness of the CHAT approach and generate learnings that can inform implementation of the model in other settings and contexts.


This multidisciplinary Dream Team unites scientists, clinicians and health equity researchers and will leverage expertise in health disparities, community engagement, health delivery systems, and precision prevention to increase CRC screening rates, participation in precision prevention research, and training of early-career researchers in three SU2C Equity Zones.

Team Members

Jennifer Haas, MD, MSc
Massachusetts General Hospital

Anton Bilchik, MD, PhD, MBA, FSSO, FACS
Saint John’s Cancer Institute

Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil
University of California, Los Angeles

Tinka Duran, MPH
Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board
Principal Investigator

Sapna Syngal, MD, MPH
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Principal Investigator

Staci Wendt, PhD
Providence System Research Hub
Principal Investigator

Bill Wright, PhD
Providence System Research Hub
Principal Investigator

Suzanne Brodney, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Project Manager

Rhea Cabardo
Providence Saint John’s Health
Project Manager

Kimberly Schoolcraft
Fight CRC

Marsha Baker
Fight CRC; Steve Baker Colorectal Cancer Alliance

Helena L Williams
Williams Health Care Enterprise

While we’ve seen some colorectal cancer screening rates rebound more recently, overall the impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous, and people of color is dire and compounds the low cancer screening rates and poorer cancer outcomes seen before the pandemic. Our team is committed to empowering healthcare providers who serve these communities by providing tools and strategies, as well as community engagement, to pave the way for national efforts that effectively address screening disparities across the country.

Jennifer Haas, MD, MSc
Massachusetts General Hospital


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click on the link to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team.



Links to publications will be posted when they are available.

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