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Massey director speaks on panel addressing cancer disparities among veterans

Jun 07, 2022

Dr. WInn at panel discussion

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs estimates it diagnoses and treats about 43,000 new cases of cancer each year. This patient population has faced disparities over decades because of its diversity in race, ethnicity, genders and regions of the country represented.

On June 4, 2022, Robert A. Winn, the director and Lipman chair in Oncology of VCU Massey Cancer Center,  joined leaders from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Bristol Myers Squibb  (BMS) and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF) for the third annual Conquering Veteran Cancer, Together event.

Winn participated in a panel entitled Partnership for Advancing Health Equities, Innovation and Precision Oncology.

“I believe in research, and research drives clinical issues,” Winn said. “But where we missed is, ‘Where does the clinic impact the community?’”

Dr. Winn in a panel discussion

During the discussion sponsored by BMS and moderated by BMSF senior director Catharine Grimes, Winn shared his hope that all cancer centers become more public health-minded when addressing disparities among military veterans and other underserved populations.

“Start thinking about ‘zenome’ and ZNA - zip code and neighborhood of association - and PSA - place, space and ancestry - as frameworks for how we can talk about precision oncology,” Winn offered a solution for how providers can offer more targeted care to the wide range of  individuals who have served in the military.

According to BMS, the panel aimed to bring together stakeholders offering their unique capabilities while also uniting to optimize cancer care for veterans.

Conquering Veteran Cancer, Together took place at the 2022 ASCO annual meeting held June 3-7 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Written by: Amy Lacey

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