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Jorge Gomez, MD, PhD
Assistant Vice President for Translational Research in Special Populations
Associate Director, Center for Elimination of Border Health Disparities
University of Arizona Health Sciences
Assistant Director for Cancer Research
University of Arizona Cancer Center
Assistant Professor, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
University of Arizona
Goal: To improve access to breast cancer screening among Hispanic women along the US-Mexico border.
Impact: Dr. Gomez has identified cultural, language, and financial barriers to breast cancer screening and preventive care faced by Latinas in the region. His findings have guided the development of a culturally appropriate program that could ultimately improve breast cancer outcomes in this underserved population.
What’s next: He and his team will test a bilingual, telephone-based navigation program that addresses barriers to care that Latinas face, including time, language, and transportation.
Women living in low-income, low-resource communities face many challenges in getting breast cancer screening. This decreases the chance the disease will be caught early, and delays in diagnosis are associated with poorer outcomes. Dr. Gomez is studying ways to overcome the barriers to screening and care that Latina women living along the US-Mexico border experience using interventions that could reduce the burden of breast cancer in the region.
Full Research Summary
Research area: Seeking to increase access to and use of preventive mammography in Hispanic women along the US-Mexico border.
Impact: Latina women who live in low-income, low-resource communities in this region face barriers to regular breast cancer screening, which facilitates the early detection of the disease, leading to better outcomes. Dr. Gomez’s investigations of ways to identify and address these barriers could lead to the development of a sustainable model to increase breast cancer screening among Hispanic women that can inform programs along the border and nationally.
Current investigation: He and his team have launched a study of a telephone-based program to increase first-time mammography screening rates and improve diagnostic resolution rates among Latinas in southern Arizona. Bilingual outreach coordinators provide culturally sensitive education and materials and help break down barriers these women face, such as lack of time, insurance, and transportation.
What he’s learned so far: Dr. Gomez’s program has made significant progress in increasing the number of patient navigators who have helped patients overcome many barriers in access to care. The study continues to inform best practices not only locally on the Arizona/Mexico Border but also nationally.
What’s next: Dr. Gomez will continue to investigate barriers to care in the region and how to address them, as well as improve recruitment and navigation strategies used by coordinators.
Jorge Gomez, MD, PhD is the Assistant Vice President for Translational Research in Special Populations, as well as the Associate Director of the Center for Elimination of Border Health Disparities at The University of Arizona Health Sciences, and he is also the Assistant Director for Cancer Research at The University of Arizona Cancer Center. In addition, Dr. Gomez is an Assistant Professor in the Community, Environment and Policy Department at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at The University of Arizona. Dr. Gomez interests include the elimination of health disparities in targeted populations through translational research.
Prior to joining The University of Arizona, Dr. Gomez worked for three years as Medical Officer, Program Director for the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) prestigious Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE). While at NCI, he developed the Office of Latin American Cancer Program Development (OLACPD) that resulted in the formation of the US-Latin American Cancer Research Network (US-LACRN) with the US NCI and five Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay).
BCRF Investigator Since
The Estée Lauder Companies' Employee Fundraising Award