Newswise — A new podcast from the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) aims to expand the dialogue about cancer health disparities and to identify strategies to mitigate them.

Accelerating Equity: Cancer Care for All is hosted by Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, enterprise director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia. Her first guest is Dr. Norman E. Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Sharpless covered a range of topics including cancer policy priorities in the Biden administration, the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act, gaps in health disparities research, cancer care delivery in rural communities, telehealth, women in cancer center leadership, and efforts to diversify the cancer researcher pipeline.

“With NCI focused on funding research, we want to drive the science behind why these disparities exist,” Dr. Sharpless said in the interview. “An important way this is done is through the cancer centers.”

The podcast is one element of Dr. Knudsen’s two-year presidential initiative aimed at mitigating cancer disparities, starting with a clear definition of the problem as it impacts AACI cancer centers and patients. To that end, the initiative has completed surveys focused on cancer center leadership diversity and catchment areas.

Recognizing that the burden of cancer falls disproportionately on communities of color—particularly Black communities— AACI is committed to promoting health equity and reducing cancer health disparities such as higher rates of cancer cases, deaths, and complications among certain population groups, and lower screening rates among some groups.

“AACI is working actively to understand the underlying reasons for cancer disparities and the ways that cancer centers are striving to mitigate them in all aspects of our business—waiting rooms, laboratories, patient education, office suites, and of course, through the NCI’s appropriate focus on community outreach and engagement,” Dr. Knudsen said.

Listen to Episode 1 of Accelerating Equity: Cancer Care for All now. The podcast is currently available on the AACI website and Spotify and will be distributed to major podcast apps, including Apple and Google, in the coming weeks.


AACI’s mission is to accelerate progress against cancer by enhancing the impact of North America’s leading academic cancer centers. For more information, please visit

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Newswise: AACI Cancer Disparities Podcast Launches with Inaugural Guest Dr. Norman E. Sharpless


Caption: AACI President Dr. Karen E. Knudsen

Newswise: AACI Cancer Disparities Podcast Launches with Inaugural Guest Dr. Norman E. Sharpless


Caption: NCI Director Dr. Norman E. Sharpless