How We’re Fighting for Health Equity


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Introducing Fight Colorectal Cancer’s Health Equity Committee

Fight CRC fights so all Americans have access to quality health care and can live healthy lives. We believe that every patient deserves access to screening and high-quality care, no matter their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, or socioeconomic status. But, COVID-19 revealed a sad fact about what many already working on health equity already knew: underserved communities face greater hurdles when seeking care in our country

This is wrong, and this is why we fight. 

As an organization, we are relentless champions of hope for all patients. We believe within our mission is a responsibility to identify the gaps and advocate for equal access to care on behalf of every survivor, caregiver and loved one.

About the Committee 

Health equity is a top priority for us. That’s why Fight CRC formed a Health Equity Committee in 2020 consisting of physicians, survivors, caregivers, and front-line staff who are passionate about removing health disparities and championing health equity initiatives in the colorectal cancer community.

This committee is modeling the way not only in their everyday lives, but also as relentless champions of hope. They’ve agreed to lead Fight CRC into critical conversations about health equity, hoping that this important work will lead to the number of CRC cases going down, patient lives improving, and, ultimately, disparities going away.

“Fight CRC is partnering with thought leaders from the medical and scientific community to champion the messages surrounding health equity as well as the action. We are trying to be very creative in ways to close the gap in regards to the health disparities.”

Darrell Gray, MD, MPH; Health Equity Committee Member

What is the Committee Doing?

A talented, multidisciplinary group of professionals is coming together to share ideas and passions that will lead our relentless champions as we pursue health equity initiatives together. The team is centering its efforts around data, letting research tell the real story and drive further action. The committee is brainstorming ways to build trust, keep the topic of health disparities at the forefront, and secure resources for the most underserved. 

There are many actions that can be taken, and this team is committed to identifying each next step and determining how the advocate community can play a role. Committee members are also putting their names and faces to the work so patients can see that a diverse group of professionals is behind cancer prevention. 

“For a long time, the face of cancer has not been that of a Black, Latino, or Native American person. It’s really important that when we talk about a disease that disproportionately affects racial, ethnic, minority groups, that there’s representation across the spectrum. Hopefully, our committee’s work will inspire groups that did not consider themselves to be at risk to become more engaged and increase partnerships with Black, Latino & Native American survivors.”

Rachel Issaka, M.D., M.A.S.; Health Equity Committee Member

Who is on the Committee?

The committee consists of relentless champions of hope who are making things happen when it comes to health equity in the United States: 

  • Michell Baker, Director of Philanthropy, Fight CRC
  • Sophia Balzora, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, NYU Grossman School of Medicine
  • Anjee Davis, MPPA, President, Fight Colorectal Cancer
  • Carmen Fong, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Mount Sinai
  • Darrell M. Gray, II, MD, MPH, FACG, gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine, The Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center and deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity, OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Candace Henley, survivor and founder, Blue Hat Foundation
  • Rachel Issaka, MD, MAS, Gastroenterologist and Assistant Professor, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington
  • Fola May, M.D,, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, UCLA Health; Director, Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program; Staff Physician, Division of Gastroenterology, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
  • Curt Pesmen, author, cancer survivor, associate producer
  • Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC), Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

How can I learn more and stay up to date?

Over the next few months, we will be introducing you to each committee member and sharing their stories and what’s made them passionate about this work. What drives them. What are they hoping to see as a result of focusing on health equity at Fight CRC, and how can you be a part.

Stay tuned for more updates on our blog and if you don’t yet, sign up to receive emails.

Let’s Stay in Touch!

One thought on “How We’re Fighting for Health Equity

  1. Here in New Mexico, our Native American population fits the Mission Statement and what y’all are doing. I believe with Fight CRC and the Committee we can make an effort and gaining trust with this population that gets over looked on so many front’s. Thank you

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