Reaffirming a commitment to eliminate pancreatic cancer
In this DrumCall, Monteic A. Sizer, Ph.D, shares one non-profit's mission to end pancreatic cancer and eliminate negative social determinants of health on behalf of Elvin Howard Sr
By Monteic A. Sizer, Ph.D
The Elvin Howard, Sr. Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Foundation was born out of pain, loss, and a desire to make a difference.
When we established the Foundation's vision and mission, we understood that African Americans and people of color died disproportionately of pancreatic cancer. We also understood that these same individuals were likely misdiagnosed, diagnosed too late, and then sent home to die.
And while our initial focus and passion have not changed, our understanding of the issues associated with pancreatic cancer has.
We now better understand that people are a product of where they live, work, and play. Research shows that about 80 percent of negative health outcomes are attributable to social factors such as inadequate housing, lack of education, poor diet and nutrition, limited transportation, access to health care, and high unemployment, to name a few. We could not ignore these scientific facts.
We also recognized that negative social determinants of health were rooted in history and public policies. Our nation's history and public policies helped create and reinforce many of the past and current health disparities we see. These same social factors interact with genetic factors and influence how we see others, treat others, and show compassion to others.
We also know that chronic stress is related to mental illness, hypertension, inflammatory diseases, and weakened immune systems. And unfortunately, too many poor, African Americans, and people of color often experience sustained stress in their minds, homes, relationships, and communities.
Because of our nation's history and public policies, many racial, ethnic, gender, and related stereotypes have emerged and have become ingrained in our nation's ethos and every social institution, including health care. These stereotypes can and have limited access to health care and lifesaving diagnosis and treatment.
Because African Americans and people of color are disproportionately affected by pancreatic and other forms of cancer, and too many other chronic health conditions, we had to address the negative social determinants of health, genetic factors, public policies, and individual behaviors that cause them. For these reasons, we decided to include addressing negative social determinants of health and other chronic health conditions in our vision statement.
As the National Representative of the Foundation, I am happy to announce that we will be working with renowned researchers, pharmaceutical companies, hospital systems, colleges and universities, insurance companies, and elected officials to significantly reduce these disparities.
Now is the time to commit to making good on our nation's noble promises and highest aspirations. Let's afford every American an opportunity to be healthy enough to contribute to our nation and be all that God created our nation and us to be. You see, we believe in one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, justice, and health care for all.
By Monteic A. Sizer, Ph.D, founding member of the Elvin Howard Sr. Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Foundation
Elvin Howard Sr. Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization focused on the reduction of pancreatic cancer deaths and family hardships by bringing innovative support and awareness to pancreatic cancer patients, their caregivers, and families. Elvin Howard Sr. PCAF is also dedicated to ensuring social determinants of health will never be an obstacle to preventing, diagnosing, treating, and curing pancreatic cancer or any other chronic health condition. Sizer can be reached at email@example.com