Health Equity Breakthrough Dream Team - Stand Up To Cancer

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SU2C Health Equity Breakthrough Team:
DISRUPT: Diversity & IncluSion in Research Underpinning Prevention & Therapy Trials

May 2021-April 2025

The SU2C Health Equity Breakthrough Team Research Grant Program endeavors to address the issue of low participation by racial and ethnic minority populations in cancer research despite the disproportionate burden of disease in those groups. Health disparities research has traditionally been fragmented, with research in the social sciences exploring socioeconomic and cultural barriers to access, and the biological sciences studying genetic and environmental drivers of disease. This Breakthrough Team combines new perspectives integrating social science domains with clinical research.

Supported By:


Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) experience worse cancer outcomes, and despite years of progress in cancer research and treatment, most research is done primarily in white populations. This leaves uncertainty about the best approaches to treat BIPOC dealing with cancer. There is low participation in Clinical Trials (CT) in the United States for many reasons including the healthcare system, the availability of CTs, and the patient’s other illnesses. These factors more often affect BIPOC patients, and individuals in both medically underserved and low-income communities. Right now, most approaches to increase diversity involve approaching individuals after cancer diagnosis.

The Team proposes doing something entirely different and starting much earlier in the process so that when someone is diagnosed, it won’t be the first time that they hear about CT. This proposal brings together multidisciplinary teams from four New York City institutions charged with reducing the cancer burden that affects approximately two million people living in some of the most diverse and underserved communities in the United States. The intent of this collaborative research is captured by its acronym, DISRUPT: Diversity & IncluSion in Research Underpinning Prevention & Therapy Trials.

Detecting Gastric Cancer


This multidisciplinary Team unites scientists, clinicians and health equity researchers in order to lay the groundwork to change the way cancer is treated, and how we discover new treatments. This includes cancers that have the greatest burden on the communities served, like breast, prostate, and liver cancer. Learn more about the SU2C Health Equity Breakthrough Research team.

Team Members

Nina A. Bickell, MD, MPH
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Karen Hubbard, PhD
City College of New York

Bruce Rapkin, PhD
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Mary Beth Terry, PhD
Columbia University

Kimberly Burke
Columbia University
Project Manager

Leo Spychala
City College of New York
Project Manager

Ariana Tao
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Project Manager

Radhi M. Yagnik
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Project Manager

Rev. Zorina Costello, D. Min, M. Div, MS
Center for Spirituality and Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Ivis Sampayo
SHARE Cancer Support

“DISRUPT is an exciting venture to disrupt norms that limit access to clinical trials in the neighborhoods we serve, and the care delivery and research communities. Working with all these communities, we aim to increase participation in cancer clinical trials, especially among under-represented and underserved patients.” 

Nina Bickell, MD, MPH
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


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 Health Equity Breakthrough Dream Team.



Links to publications will be posted when they are available.

Clinical Trials Referrals

Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

At, you’ll find clinical trial information, answers to common questions, and a free clinical trial finder tool.



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