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Daniel O'Neil, MD, MPH

Postdoctoral Clinical Fellow
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York
Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO

Current Research

  • Seeking to identify barriers to optimal breast cancer care in patients treated in public hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Analysis of clinical, demographic, economic and social factors is conducted to identify predictors of worse outcomes.
  • This study will lay the groundwork for targeted interventions to reduce disparities in care and patient outcomes in a low-resource setting

Many factors can affect quality of breast cancer care in low-resource settings prevalent in the developing world. Along with access to standard treatments, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, demographic, social and economic factors may have an even larger impact on patient outcomes. Dr. O’Neil is studying these factors in 3000 breast cancer patients in South Africa to identify factors most predictive of poor outcomes in vulnerable populations. 

Full Research Summary

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women living in sub-Saharan Africa. For these patients, under-resourced local healthcare systems as well as socioeconomic barriers result in much lower rates of survival from breast cancer than seen in the United States and Europe.

The South African Breast Cancer and HIV Outcomes (SABCHO) study is a U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded project collecting demographic, clinical, treatment and outcome information on 3000 new breast cancer patients from five public hospitals in South Africa. The patients in the SABCHO group are predominantly poor and approximately 20 percent are HIV positive. 

Dr. O’Neil’s Conquer Cancer Foundation research supported by BCRF will use data from the SABCHO study to assess the quality of breast cancer care in this population. The goal is to determine which patient and disease characteristics are most predictive of receiving substandard breast cancer care and whether compliance with American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) quality care metrics predicts longer survival in this group of vulnerable patients. 

Ultimately, Dr. O’Neil hopes to design quality metrics specifically for low- and middle-income countries to overcome the challenges to optimal care in these settings.

These studies will help identify women who are at highest risk for receiving incomplete breast cancer treatment and will lay the groundwork for interventions to improve outcomes in low resource settings. 


Dr. Daniel O'Neil, MD, MPH is a medical oncology fellow at Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center. His research interests focus on understanding the patient and clinical factors affecting the quality of cancer care delivery in lower and middle-income countries. He is currently involved in a collaboration with researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa studying breast, lung and prostate cancer care.

Dr. O'Neil attended Cornell University as an undergraduate, where he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. He then earned his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York City. While in medical school, Dr. O'Neil spent an additional year working in rural Uganda as a program coordinator for the international NGO Doctors For Global Health. In that position, he collaborated on the design and implementation of a program using community health workers to provide decentralized chronic disease care.

Dr. O'Neil completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. While at Brigham and Women's, he also enrolled in the one-year global health equity residency. This program included research on the quality of breast cancer care delivered at Butaro Comprehensive Cancer Center of Excellence, Rwanda's first public cancer hospital. That work was also the basis for a master’s in public health obtained from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University

Large Researcher Headshot - O'Neil Daniel

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Blizzard Entertainment Award

Area(s) of Focus