SPH Researcher Secures $2.7 Million Grant to Examine Colorectal Cancer Disparities

Posted on: June 27, 2014 Topics: Community Health Sciences

BU School of Public Health researcher Ulrike Boehmer has received a $2.7 million grant for a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive study examining whether disparities linked to sexual orientation affect colorectal cancer survivors’ health care and quality of life.

The five-year award from the National Cancer Institute will allow Boehmer, an associate professor of community health sciences, to lead a study testing two hypotheses: That lesbian, gay, and bisexual cancer survivors have poorer quality health care and quality of life compared to heterosexual survivors, even after controlling for disease and non-disease factors; and that those who are “at ease” with their sexual identity will have better quality care and quality of life than sexual minority survivors who have difficulty with their identity.

Boehmer said the ultimate goal of her research is to identify how health care providers and policy makers can intervene to improve the health care and quality of life for a wide diversity of colorectal cancer survivors, including sexual minorities.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women, with research indicating that survivors have often unmet needs and poor quality of life. A recent Institute of Medicine report found that sexual minority populations are medically underserved, but differences in their quality of life and health care remain largely unknown.

Related Profiles: