Johns Hopkins University
Resident, Department of Radiation Oncology
American Society for Radiation Oncology
Johns Hopkins University
Understanding barriers to uptake of hypo-fractionated radiation therapy in limited resource settings.
Hypo-fractionated radiation therapy (HF) provides radiation treatment to patients in fewer, larger doses—reducing toxic side effects and reducing patients’ trips to the treatment center. Its use in early-stage breast cancer is widespread in the in the U.S. but not in Africa, in spite of the increased efficiency and availability of HF therapy. As part of her ASTRO-BCRF award, Dr. Bhatia will research the rates of HF use in Botswana and identify what is needed from clinical departments, infrastructure, or data to better equip resource-limited clinics; expand access to HF therapy; and improve outcomes for patients.
Dr. Bhatia will first analyze trends in the use of HF in Botswana and incorporate statistical analysis of patient level factors including age, socioeconomic status measured by household income, residence (distance from the hospital), and clinical factors. The results from this will inform an interview guide for the second part of the study to better understand the barriers to access to HF therapy, which will include interviews with physicians, physicists, and dosimetrists. area. Ultimately, this work will generate a quantitative baseline to understand trends and patterns of HF use, followed by an exploration of facilitators and barriers to HF use. With this data, Dr. Bhatia can prioritize interventions to increase HF treatment and mitigate disparities in access to radiation.
Rohini Bhatia, MD is a fourth-year resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Johns Hopkins University. She is interested in working to mitigate disparities in access to quality oncologic care in resource limited settings. She graduated with honors in Epidemiology from the University of Rochester, focusing her thesis on mixed-methods research studies on tobacco control in Ladakh, India. As a Fulbright-Nehru scholar in Delhi, she then investigated predictors of tobacco use among women in urban and rural settings. She has worked in Botswana with Dr. Surbhi Grover on a variety of projects since 2015 including quantifying delays related to cancer diagnosis and treatment along the patient care continuum and piloting a new smartphone application to refine clinic workflow. She is currently working to understand the barriers to uptake of hypo-fractionated radiation therapy in limited resource settings and hopes that this understanding will help in identifying actionable interventions. She is interested in implementation science and how to bring lessons from global oncology to local frontiers.
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