Promoting health equity by understanding cancer risk and outcomes

Aiming to reduce cancer risk, improve the understanding of cancer outcomes, and promote cancer health equity in our most vulnerable populations at the community level, the Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey have recruited Anita Y. Kinney, PhD, as Director of the Center of Cancer Health Disparities at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Associate Director of Cancer Health Equity and Engagement at Rutgers Cancer Institute.

Previously, Dr. Kinney was the Carolyn R. Surface Endowed Chair in Cancer Population Sciences at the University of New Mexico's Comprehensive Cancer Center and Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. She was also the Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Sciences, and a Co-leader of the Cancer Control Research Program, among other roles.

Throughout her career, Kinney has conducted research focused on a more comprehensive understanding of the variation in cancer risk and determinants of risk and outcomes. She examined how to apply these findings to develop more effective interventions that can facilitate informed decision making and more efficient practices in preventative care delivery. In her new roles at Rutgers, Kinney will focus on engaging communities impacted by cancer health disparities through research and other initiatives at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute.

As Director of the new Center of Cancer Health Disparities at the Rutgers School of Public Health, Kinney will engage with communities impacted by cancer health disparities through the development and oversight of a Cancer Health Equity Research work group. Part of her role will include facilitating the translation of the work group's findings to communities through forums and media platforms. She will also facilitate junior faculty mentorship and create research opportunities for students interested in cancer health disparity research.

"Dr. Kinney adds to our growing interdisciplinary portfolio at the Rutgers School of Public Health by enacting cancer research using a social justice lens and a biopsychosocial perspective," says Rutgers School of Public Health Dean Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH. "She is critical to our mission of keeping the 'public' in public health."

At Rutgers Cancer Institute, Kinney's responsibilities will include enhancing and executing community outreach and engagement initiatives, as well as working with cancer center faculty members to ensure that New Jersey's most vulnerable populations are integrated into population science, clinical and translational research efforts.

"As Rutgers Cancer Institute broadens its reach across New Jersey through our partnership with RWJ Barnabas Health, we have an opportunity to further expand community outreach, population research, clinical trials enrollment, and prevention and screening efforts. An example of this is our recent effort in developing and leading ScreenNJ with the state Department of Health focusing efforts on screening, education and awareness for colorectal and lung cancers. Dr. Kinney's expertise in cancer control and population science will enhance our ongoing community outreach activities and enlarge our research portfolio so that we can learn more about at-risk populations across the state," notes Rutgers Cancer Institute Director Steven K. Libutti, MD, FACS. "Her knowledge will enable our teams to develop appropriate interventions as well as clinical decision support tools in order to improve patient outcomes."

"I am excited to return to my home state of New Jersey to work toward helping reduce the burden of cancer in the state's diverse and underserved populations. Our new Cancer Health Disparities Center will promote health equity in cancer prevention and care delivery through community partnerships, outreach and a team science approach. I am also looking forward to mentoring students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in cancer health equity research and developing sustainable solutions to improve cancer outcomes in New Jersey and beyond," notes Kinney.

Since 1986, Kinney has authored or co-authored more than 125 peer-reviewed publications. She serves on a number of External Scientific Advisory Boards for major cancer centers across the country and is a member of the National Cancer Institute Cancer Care Delivery Steering Committee and a National Institutes of Health Study Section. She also is a Senior Editor for Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, is an American Academy of Nursing Fellow, serves on the Board of Trustees for the Society of Integrative Oncology and holds numerous other leadership roles related to her profession.

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