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Jorge Gomez, MD, MS, 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
Seeking to increase access to and use of preventive mammography in Hispanic women along the US-Mexico border.
Efforts are ongoing to develop an intervention model for breast cancer screening and prevention in Latinas.
These efforts address an urgent need by creating an infrastructure for a culturally appropriate program to increase screening and preventive care that can serve as a model in other underserved communities.
Regular screening continues to lead to early diagnosis of breast cancer, and thus, death rates from breast cancer have decreased. However, the benefits of early and regular screening are not being realized across all segments of the population. Latinas in two counties in southern Arizona have low rates of breast cancer screening.
The focus of Drs. Gomez and Menon's study will be the US-Mexico Border population, where Hispanics make up a majority of the population. The Border region residents, who also have higher poverty levels, receive far less preventive care compared to the non-Hispanic white populations.
Drs. Gomez and Menon and their University of Arizona colleagues will address this problem, with a short-term goal of increasing first time mammography screening rates and improving diagnostic resolution rates among Latinas in these areas.
They have now built the infrastructure/framework needed to launch a study to increase mammography screening. The longer-term plan is to develop a sustainable model for breast cancer screening in Latinas that can be used in other settings throughout Arizona and the United States. Through this program, the team will address how to implement evidence-based prevention and promotion strategies that are culturally relevant and can be executed through community partnerships.
This project will provide critical knowledge about how to interact with Latina populations through culturally sensitive programming. Results from the study are expected to lead to significant breakthroughs that will reduce the gap between research and the implementation of intervention programs to reach underserved Latinas.
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).