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UA researcher to study cancer outcomes among underserved populations

Tomas Nuño, PhD

University of Arizona Postdoctoral Research Fellow Tomas Nuño, PhD, has been awarded a $325,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities to study cancer outcomes among underserved populations.

Dr. Nuño is a Clinical Outcomes and Comparative Effectiveness Research Fellow in the community, environment, and policy division of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He also is affiliated with the College of Pharmacy’s Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research and the College of Public Health's Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

Dr. Nuño's research will be conducted as part of the University of Arizona Cancer Center's Cancer Prevention and Control Fellowship Program.

This research will study clinical (screening/diagnosis/treatment), economic and humanistic cancer outcomes and assess disparities among underserved populations, including racial/ethnic and rural populations.

Federal Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare and SEER-Medicare Health Outcomes Survey data from the NCI will be used. Nationwide, regional and statewide comparisons will be assessed.

According to Dr. Nuño, the National Institutes of Health estimates the overall cost of cancer in 2010 at $263.8 billion, of which $102.8 billion was for direct medical costs, $20.9 billion for indirect morbidity costs (cost of lost productivity due to illness), and $140.1 billion for indirect mortality costs (cost of lost productivity due to premature death).

Examples of cancer disparities include African Americans being more likely to develop and die from cancer than any other racial/ethnic group and Hispanic women having the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer and the second highest death rate than any other racial/ethnic group in the United States.

Dr. Nuño will use the findings from this three-year study to quantify disparities in cancer outcomes. In addition, this study will provide preliminary data to assess strategies that can then be tested in clinical or community settings and hopefully help reduce the burden of cancer among underserved populations.

Completion of this research will establish Dr. Nuño as a researcher at the interface of epidemiology, outcomes, and comparative effectiveness research for cancer disparities. This research will be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. David Alberts (cancer prevention and control), Dr. Ivo Abraham (outcomes and effectiveness research), Dr. Francisco Garcia (cancer disparities), and Dr. Grant Skrepnek (health economics and national expenditure database research).

The Cancer Center's CPC Fellowship Program is directed by David S. Alberts, MD, Beth Jacobs, PhD, and Iman Hakim, MD, PhD. Jennifer W. Bea, PhD, serves as the program's Academic and Research Coordinator.

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