Amelie Ramirez Leads Push for Progress in Latino Cancer

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Amelie Ramirez at the Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference 2020
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We are in the “golden age” of cancer drug development with over 50 drugs approved for cancer treatment in the past three years.

But things aren’t golden for everyone.

In fact, of all the clinical trials for those 50 drug approvals, fewer than 10% of participants were Latino or other people of color.

That is part of the reason why Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of UT Health San Antonio co-hosted the 2nd Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference Feb. 26-28, 2020, in San Antonio.

Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos PNGThe conference united nearly 300 researchers, oncologists, physicians, community leaders, policymakers and students.

“We can’t ensure that cancer treatments—or intervention, prevention, and outreach methods—work for Latinos if they get left out of the picture,” said Ramirez, who directs Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio’s Institute for Health Promotion Research. The IHPR co-hosted the conference with the Mays Cancer Center.

“That’s why our conference and attendees are so dedicated to making connections, building collaborations, and learning new methods to help us take some very big strides in tackling Latino cancer from all angles, from the lab to the community.”

Why Is Latino Cancer Important?

Latinos are expected to see a 142% rise in cancer cases by 2030.

The Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference is addressing this by uniting Latino cancer experts from across the nation to share important solutions.

Sandro Galea at the Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference 2020
Sandro Galea speaking at the Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference in February 2020.

Dr. Sandro Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, spoke about prioritizing population health impact.

“We need to act to both generate the science that leads to action and create the social discussion that aligns the public’s values,” Galea said during his keynote presentation on Feb. 26, 2020.

In addition to Galea, several dignitaries spoke.

This includes: Douglas Lowy, principal deputy director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Eliseo Perez-Stable, director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the NIH, and Felicia Knaul, director of the Miami Institute for the Americas at the University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences.

The conference also hosted a research poster session, where nearly 100 investigators shared their latest Latino cancer studies.

View the conference agenda for all details.

“We are here to make sure Latinos get support. We are here to make sure Latinos are represented,” Ramirez said. “We are here to make sure Latinos count. We are here to make sure Latinos have a voice.”

Tweets from the Conference on Latino Cancer

Speakers and attendees also used #LatinoCancer2020 on Twitter to drive new conversations on Latino cancer issues.

View all the tweets here. Here are some examples:

Future Plans for the Conference on Latino Cancer

The Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference will return in 2022, Ramirez said.

And there will be more to come from the 2020 conference.

Amelie Ramirez, Robert Croyle, Ruben Mesa at the Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference 2020
Amelie Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, poses with Robert Croyle (National Cancer Institute) and Ruben Mesa (Mays Cancer Center) at the Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference in February 2020.

Ramirez and her team will publish key research and conference outcomes in the coming months, just as they did for the first conference in 2018.

She also thanked the conference planning committee:

  • Edward J. Trapido, Sc.D., FACE, Program Co-Chair, Louisiana State University
  • Adelaida M. Rosario, Ph.D., National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • Ana Carla Cepeda Lopez, Ph.D., Universidad de Monterrey
  • Anna M. Napoles, M.P.H., Ph.D., National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • Barbara Segarra Vasquez, M.T., D.H.Sc., University of Puerto Rico
  • Filipa C. Lynce, M.D., Georgetown University
  • Frank J. Penedo, Ph.D., University of Miami
  • Laura Fejerman, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco
  • Laura Magana Valladares, Ph.D., Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
  • Laura Tenner, M.D., UT Health San Antonio
  • Mariana C. Stern, Ph.D., University of Southern California
  • Martin Mendoza, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health
  • Matthew P. Banegas, Ph.D., M.P.H., Kaiser Permanente
  • Patricia I. Moreno, Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • Paulo Pinheiro, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., University of Miami
  • Sandi Stanford, Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation

“Our committee is excited to continue to shine a spotlight on Latino cancer research advancements, explore new frontiers and gaps in this emerging transdisciplinary field, and kick-start discussion on research from bench to bedside,” Ramirez said.

By The Numbers By The Numbers

28

percent

of Latino kids suffer four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACES).

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