Interdisciplinary Colorectal Team Awarded Equity Seed Grant

December 16, 2022

Drs. Aaron Dawes, Arden Morris, and Sandra Zaky have been awarded a 2022 Stanford Community Impact Research Cancer Health Equity Seed Grant. The team will investigate "Disparities in Access and Quality of Cancer Care for Hispanic/Latino Californians with Rectal Cancer: A Comparative Qualitative Evaluation of the Bay Area and the Central Valley."

"I’m always been interested in disparities work, but frustrated by our lack of understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Rectal cancer care is complex and becoming more centralized. We actually see a lot of patients from the Central Valley, many of whom have been through a lot to get to us," said Dawes, who works primarily at the main Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto.

While Dawes and Morris are both colorectal surgeons, Zaky is a radiation oncologist.

"I wanted to partner with someone in radiation oncology, medical oncology, or both. [Zaky] is actually the only full-time Stanford faculty member at the Stanford Emanuel Radiation Oncology Center (SEROC) and has been caring for patients in the Central Valley for almost 10 years. It was really important to me to include local partners in the work," said Dawes.

SEROC is a collaboration between Stanford Health Care and Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, California.

The grant, which will provide up to $40,000 in funding for one year, is sponsored by the Center for Population Health Sciences and the Stanford Cancer Institute.

"This is an exploratory qualitative study to try to identify themes from Hispanic/Latino patients’ experiences with diagnosis and treatment of rectal cancer," said Dawes. "We're particularly interested in what factors might help people with rectal cancer get the care they need and what factors might make it more difficult with the eventual goal of designing policy interventions to help span some of the gaps in care."

Using the seed grant funding, the team hopes to generate some interesting data so they can then apply for a larger follow-up grant.

Dr. Aaron Dawes

Dr. Arden Morris

Dr. Sandra Zaky