The University of Chicago Medicine’s Center for Asian Health Equity (CAHE) is joining the National Cancer Institute’s Beau Biden Cancer MoonshotSM Initiative to accelerate the pace of progress in the fight against cancer.  The National Cancer Institute (NCI) established multiple mechanisms to fund Cancer Moonshot-related research, one of them being ACCSIS (Accelerating Colorectal Cancer Screening and Follow-up through Implementation Science).  The ACCSIS Program will provide an evidence base for multilevel interventions that increase rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, follow-up, and referral-to-care, and best practices for how multilevel interventions can be scaled-up to reduce the burden of CRC and generate population impact.  As one of three grantees nationwide, ACCSIS-Chicago, led by principal investigators Karen Kim and Blasé Polite, has been awarded nearly $6 million over five years to test implementation strategies that substantially improve CRC screening and follow-up rates in populations where baseline rates remian low, as well as provide a robust knowledge base for the field of implementation science.

Screening for CRC not only detects disease early, but also prevents cancer by finding and removing precancerous polyps. Illinois ranks in the lowest quartile for CRC screening rates across the nation, which has no doubt been a contributor to its high CRC incidence. Cook County has one of the highest CRC mortality rates in Illinois and is the most populous and diverse county in Illinois with significantly higher numbers of African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, as well as people who are living below 200% of the poverty level.

In response, CAHE will launch ACCSIS in Chicago (ACCSIS-Chicago) targeting underrepresented populations. CAHE’s Director Dr. Karen Kim, MD, MS and Dr. Blase Polite, MD, MPP, an affiliated researcher of the Center at the University of Chicago Medicine, are the Principal Investigators of ACCSIS-Chicago.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to study the implementation of evidence based interventions to increase colorectal cancer screening among vulnerable population. ACCSIS-Chicago will transform our understanding of health system and community factors which enhance or impede colorectal screening and follow up through implementation science. ” said Dr. Karen Kim.

To implement ACCSIS-Chicago, CAHE will partner with four federally qualified health centers serving diverse and  low-income populations. ACCSIS Chicago is a unique opportunity to have a sustainable impact on reducing disparities in CRC and provides a mechanism for establishing a needed research infrastructure to understand implementation science approaches to cancer control.