Media contacts:
Vince Dollard, 404-778-4580,
August 20, 2002


Emory University's Great Teacher Lecture Series "Observations in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention"

Otis Brawley, MD, Associate Director for Cancer Control at Winship Cancer Institute, Professor of Medicine and Oncology at the Emory School of Medicine, Professor of Epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health, Director of the Georgia Cancer Coalition Center of Excellence at Grady.

Thursday, September 12, 2002, 7:30 p.m. at Emory's Miller Ward Alumni House, located at 815 Houston Mill Road. It is free and open to the public. Call 404-727-5686 for more information.

Otis Brawley, MD, one of the country's leading experts in cancer prevention and a preeminent scholar in research in health disparities, will give the next Emory University Great Teachers Lecture at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, September 12. Held in Emory's Miller Ward Alumni House at 815 Houston Mill Road, the lecture is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, "Observations in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention," Dr. Brawley will look at cancer incidence and mortality in different populations in the United States and in Georgia. He will discuss health disparities among various populations, the reasons for these disparities, and what solutions are available to us. He will also look at what is being done at Emory to alleviate the disparities in health care.

Dr. Brawley points out that the numbers are very clear. Since the early 1980s, African Americans are dying of breast, prostate, and other cancers in greater numbers than white Americans. Whereas in 1980, black and white women with breast cancer faced similar death rates, by 1990 a black woman's risk of dying of breast cancer was 16 percent greater than a white woman's. By 1995, that percentage difference had grown to a staggering 29 percent.

"Race is not a factor in outcomes, in terms of genetics," says Dr. Brawley. "The genetics of black folks did not change in the past 25 years. I believe that a big part of the reason these disparities exist is in the quality of care received." Dr. Brawley cites a number of studies—from large healthcare systems, the Department of Defense, and health maintenance organizations—demonstrating that equal care yields equal treatment among equal patients. Race, he argues, may mask the real culprits, including poverty, diet, tobacco and alcohol use, and inadequate health care.

Dr. Brawley is a board-certified internist and oncologist trained at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine, Case Western, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Brawley came to the Winship Cancer Institute from the NCI, where he was assistant director for special populations research. In addition to his leadership at the Grady Center of Excellence, Dr. Brawley holds appointments as professor of medicine in Emory's School of Medicine and of epidemiology in the Rollins School of Public Health.

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