The Queens Cancer Center (QCC) Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (MBCCOP) is the first National Institute of Health (NIH) funded grant, awarded to the public hospital system of New York City known as the Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC). QCC is part of the Queens Health Network (QHN) which is comprised of the only two public hospitals in Queens, Queens Hospital Center (QHC) and Elmhurst Hospital Center (EHC). Since the population of QHN is 92% minorities, we are uniquely qualified for this minority program. Since its inception in 2002, the QCC has been dedicated to bringing the best possible cancer care to the people in Queens who were previously underserved, including minority patients, recent immigrants and patients without insurance or means. The population served by the Queens Health Network has an unfortunate history of late stage cancers of all kind and. poorer survival. The mission of QCC is to reduce the rate of late stage disease and to improve the care for cancer. The strategies to accomplish this includes education of the community, introduction of cancer control trials, outreach for early detection programs and state of the art cancer care including access to cancer treatment trials. The patient population of QHN is overwhelmingly from minority groups who usually do not have access to clinical trials. The QHN is the only health facility in Queens, a borough more than 2 million people that offers access to multi-institutional treatment trials. Since the MBCCOP was awarded (September of 2010) the infrastructure was put in place to combine the resources of both centers (QHC and EHC) to assure access of patients to appropriate clinical trials. The process has been slow and is still evolving. It required hiring research staff and developing a quality training program in areas where previously no research was in place. We now have the staff and infrastructure in place to carry out the mission of MBCCOP going forward to increase access to clinical trials for our patients.
Research in cancer control, prevention, early detection and treatment have not been offered equally to minority lower socio-economic patients: perhaps resulting in later stage disease at presentation and worse outcomes. It is essential that NCI support public hospital systems such as the New York City HHC, with a proven track record in research, so that disparities in cancer care in these communities can be reduced.