Georgia is fortunate to be blessed with great natural, human and economic resources. Yet, sadly, cancer strikes Georgians with greater ferocity than it does the citizens of many other states – both in the number of cases diagnosed and the number of deaths attributed to this terrible disease.
Our mission at the Georgia Cancer Coalition is to bring all of our abundant resources to bear as we strive to reverse these statistics. We have created a partnership that challenges the public and private sectors…academic and clinical institutions…individuals and advocacy groups…to dedicate their efforts towards a single goal: reducing the human suffering and untimely deaths attributed to cancer. To that end, the Coalition is bringing science to the community through five key statewide initiatives.
The Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists (DCCS) program continues to serve us well as the backbone of the strategy to move Georgia toward the top ranks in cancer care by 2012. Our goal is to recruit 150 top drawer scholars who can produce superior grant proposals that are funded by NCI, CDC, ACS, NIH, etc. The Scholars program is arguably the most successful component in the Coalition’s portfolio, with 118 Scholars recruited from 2002-2008, amassing $200 million in federal and private funding.
The Georgia Cancer Quality Information Exchange was formed by the Georgia Cancer Coalition to facilitate the design, access and retrieval of clinical information to measure the quality of cancer care, enhance adherence to standards, and improve outcomes through process change. The Exchange is a response to the 2005 Institute of Medicine report, Assessing the Quality of Cancer Care: An Approach to Measurement in Georgia which presents a set of 52 quality measures for cancer care in all stages of the continuum. The Coalition is currently working with Demonstration Partners to help them collect and aggregate date and share knowledge, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of care for cancer patients.
The Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Georgia CORE) is a Georgia Cancer Coalition initiative that is now an independent, non-profit organization working to improve cancer care in Georgia by strengthening clinical research throughout the state. Georgia CORE is a novel collaboration of clinicians, scientists, educators, public health practitioners and those affected by cancer. Through academic and community relationships, Georgia CORE has built a research network that facilitates the sharing of scientific information and access to clinical trials. Georgia CORE also provides educational resources crucial for attracting, training, and retaining clinical research personnel.
The Biorepository Alliance of Georgia for Oncology (BRAG-Onc) is a tumor and tissue banking system that stores tissue, blood, and urine from cancer patients throughout the state. Specimens are labeled with demographic and clinical data, and later used for research which may lead to the identification of cancer’s causes; development of new treatment modalities; and a better understanding of cancer’s genetic profiles. BRAG-Onc is a unique nonprofit, multi-institutional organization that represents diverse cancer populations of the state. Collecting this pathology data will significantly strengthen research proposals from Georgia’s scientific investigators; aid Geogia CORE’s statewide research network and clinical trials registry; and enable modern molecular-based research. Building biorepositiories is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) priority.
St. Joseph’s / Candler (SJCHS) in Savannah, Georgia, was one of the 14 sites named by NCI to participate in a three-year pilot for the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) that, if fully implemented, will help bring state-of-the-art cancer care to patients in community hospitals across the United States. The pilot program will research new and enhanced ways to assist, educate, and better treat the needs of underserved populations—including elderly, rural, inner-city, and low-income patients—as well as racial and ethnic groups with unusually high cancer rates. The SJ/CHS proposal includes collaboration with the Georgia Cancer Coalition as well a clinical alliance with The Harbin Clinic in Rome, Georgia and the John B. Amos Cancer Center in Columbus. NCCCP pilot sites are studying how community hospitals nationwide could most effectively develop and implement a national database of voluntarily-provided electronic medical records accessible to cancer researchers. The sites will also study methods of expanding and standardizing the collection of blood and tissue specimens voluntarily obtained from patients for cancer research.
These initiatives will help us meet the goals, objectives and strategies of the Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan developed for the State of Georgia for 2008-2012. Thank you for your support and your strong confidence in the aspiration of the Georgia Cancer Coalition to move Georgia to the top ranks of cancer care in the nation.
William J. Todd
President and CEO
Georgia Cancer Coalition