Even before the School of Public Health officially became a school, LSU Health New Orleans was leading the charge in cancer prevention and research. Dr. Elizabeth Fontham, the School’s founding dean, completed the first U.S. case-control study demonstrating the increased risk that tobacco smoke poses to non-smokers. That landmark study and her further work eventually led the Environmental Protection Agency to classify secondhand smoke as a carcinogen, laid the groundwork for smoke-free laws and propelled her into the top position at the American Cancer Society, making her its first-ever non-physician president.
Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs (LCP)
That ground-breaking cancer work continues at LSU Health New Orleans today, with much of it coming under the auspices of LCP, a series of programs, projects and studies funded mainly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). LCP’s mission is to “eliminate suffering and death in Louisiana by focusing on cancers that can be prevented or detected early and cured,” and currently covers breast, cervical and HPV, colorectal, lung and other tobacco-related cancers. With its approximate $18 million in grants, LCP is heading the following efforts:
LCP Programs, Projects, & Studies:
- The Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program (LBCHP) (lbchp.org). LBCHP works to reduce the burden of breast and cervical cancer in Louisiana (LA) through direct service delivery and patient navigation; clinical quality improvement/health systems change interventions; and community outreach. LBCHP offers no-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings to low-income, uninsured or underinsured women through a network of clinics/hospitals located across LA. LBCHP patient navigators work hand-in-hand with patients to assess and overcome barriers to screening. If diagnosed with cancer, women screened through LBCHP are enrolled in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Medicaid program (https://ldh.la.gov/page/1504).
- Screen Up. Screen Up is LCP’s quality improvement program that aims to increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening rates in every Louisiana community. Screen Up works towards this goal by providing quality improvement support to primary care clinics to increase breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer screening rates using national experts’ guidelines and evidenced based interventions. Screen Up targets clinics with low screening rates in areas with the highest numbers of new cases of late stage cancer and/or high Medicaid or uninsured population. The project works by providing participating clinics with trained practice coaches from LSU Health New Orleans to work with their staff on improving processes that affect screening rates. Participating clinic staff also receive professional development/training.
- State Partnerships. The CDC issues a number of grants under its Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (CCCP) with LCP at LSU Health New Orleans being one of the rare academic recipients, which presents a unique learning opportunity for students. Charged with developing, building, and providing technical assistance for partnerships and coalitions working to improve health in communities, LCCCP focuses on preventable cancers and two of its major modifiable risk factors: tobacco and obesity. Money from this grant helps fund LCCRT; the state’s nine Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalitions (LHCC) which work on community-led projects; and the State Cancer Plan.
- HPV Studies. LCP works in a variety of ways to help people understand how important it is to be screened for cervical cancer and for girls and boys to get the HPV vaccine. Efforts include a series of studies centered on simplifying HPV diagnoses by studying the efficacy of at-home tests, as well as improving HPV vaccination rates by studying how physicians with high vaccine compliance rates achieve those numbers.
- Louisiana Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (LCCRT). Led by LCP, the LCCRT is a consortium of health experts who work in partnership to advance policies and programs to improve colorectal cancer screening rates in Louisiana. Modeled after the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, LCCRT’s goals are to increase the colorectal cancer screening rate in Louisiana to 80% and reduce health disparities associated with colorectal cancer.
- Survivorship Plans. Cancer experts are recognizing the value of long-term survival planning, with LCP working to devise these plans for survivors of the following cancers: breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, prostate, and kidney/renal pelvic.
LCP efforts all entail a variety of functions, with LCP featuring experts in data and evaluation, community partnerships, communications, policy, professional development, specialized skills such as data visualization, and internal business staff. To find out more, contact Dr. Donna Williams, LCP Director and LSU Health New Orleans Professor at email@example.com