By Staff Writer - October 04, 2022
The new Moffitt Health Equity Partners program is all about improving health equity in our diverse Tampa Bay community. And for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s about leveling the playing field.
“There seems to be a notion that cancer hits people equally, but it does not,” said Bryan Glazer, co-chairman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Black/African American men and women have a 210% and 41% higher risk of dying from prostate cancer and breast cancer, respectively, compared with their white counterparts. Hispanic children and adolescents are 20% and 38% more likely to develop leukemia than non-Hispanic white children and adolescents, respectively. Asian and Pacific Islander adults are twice as likely to die from stomach cancer as white adults.
“These numbers are shocking,” Glazer said, “and we need to find out the ‘why’ and put people on equal footing to beat cancer.”
"These numbers are shocking, and we need to find out the ‘why’ and put people on equal footing to beat cancer."- Bryan Glazer, Co-Chairman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers became the first organization in the Tampa Bay area to join the new corporate membership program, which provides businesses a powerful new way to improve health equity in the community. The effort is an outgrowth of Moffitt’s George Edgecomb Society, founded in honor of Hillsborough County’s first Black judge and a good friend of H. Lee Moffitt, founder of the cancer center. At just 33 years old, Edgecomb died of leukemia in 1977.
Initiatives funded by the George Edgecomb Society and now Moffitt Health Equity Partners seek to elevate cancer care for all by examining how cancer affects underserved communities differently. By conducting purposeful outreach and research in communities that have health disparities, experts can develop innovations that impact all communities, closing the gap on health equity.
“It’s fundamental that our efforts benefit the most people possible, and so we have to consider the idea of equity in everything that we do,” said Dr. Susan Vadaparampil associate center director of Community Outreach, Engagement and Equity at Moffitt. “We need to be thinking from the get-go about how things work for unique populations and unique circumstances. We have to make sure that what we learn here at Moffitt reaches all of our community.”
Funding from partner support will be used to expand research that advances treatments and cures; provide community education on specific vulnerabilities in Black/African American, Latino and other population groups; provide regular cancer screenings in underserved neighborhoods; and recruit diverse physicians and researchers to Moffitt who reflect the communities that the cancer center serves.
“This is a fight that we are all in, regardless of race, gender or age, and our goal is to level the playing field and give everyone a chance to beat cancer,” Glazer said.
For more information about Moffitt Health Equity Partners, contact Lorrin.Rucker@Moffitt.org.