The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Medical researchers and trusted messengers discuss disparities in cancer care and subsequent outcomes

Dr. Brian Rivers & Dr. Shana Ntiri join Washington Post Live on Wednesday, June 22. (Video: The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

Marginalized communities in the United States are more likely to die from most cancers. A complex interplay of biological, environmental and socioeconomic factors contributes to these persistent disparities, and trust in the health-care system remains key to reversing these realities. Brian Rivers, PhD, director of the Cancer Health Equity Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, and Shana O. Ntiri, MD, medical director of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Baltimore City Cancer Program, join Washington Post senior writer Frances Stead Sellers to discuss drivers of and solutions to disparities in cancer outcomes and care.

Click here for transcript

Click here to listen to the podcast


“Morehouse School of Medicine, for example, we're being very intentional about recruiting individuals that we know will go back and serve their communities. Individuals from diverse backgrounds, whether it’s African American, whether it’s LatinX or anyone other underrepresented minority group here in the United States…And I know many other organizations have been driving workforce diversity, ensuring adequate representation of diverse individuals in the care delivery model. When patients see individuals who look like them, often times the outcomes are much, much better.”- Brian Rivers, PhD (Video: Washington Post Live)
“I definitely salute this administration for their forward thinking as it relates to really developing and expanding the infrastructure. Especially as it relates to cancer care, prevention and delivery. We saw President Biden in recent months release the initiative titled, “The Cancer Moonshot.” That’s extremely encouraging. Initially when that initiative was first launched during President Obama’s administration it held great promise in terms of accelerating the advances in cancer treatment, as well as prevention. And now we’re seeing it realizes again with two specific goals and it’s really to ensure all individuals are able to be screened for cancers that are screenable. And then ensure that there’s adequate representation of individuals and various cancer research studies.”- Brian Rivers, PhD (Video: Washington Post Live)
“I think patients embraced it. I do think you are right, absolutely, you have to acknowledge that there’s a digital divide. Again, being in Baltimore city, most folks have access to the technology that they need. For us, Telehealth includes everything from, a teleport call, all the way through a video visit. And I think we accommodate patients and meet them where they are.” - Shana O. Ntiri, MD (Video: Washington Post Live)
“I think mistrust is huge, I think COVID has highlighted that. Because there's great mistrust in terms of the vaccine, in terms of diagnosis, in terms of the impact, in terms of the communities that were hardest hit by COVID. And that has ramifications outside of COVID itself. So, certainly having many, many conversations with patients…to address trust definitely…People aren’t always ready, people may have other things going on in their lives, they may have mistrust. But I think with consistency and time and building rapport and building trust, people often come around. But you have to meet people where they are and acknowledge that people are not always going to move forward on the timeline that you may want them to.”- Shana O. Ntiri, MD (Video: Washington Post Live)

Shana O. Ntiri, MD

Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Medical Director, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Baltimore City Cancer Program

Brian Rivers, PhD

Director, Cancer Health Equity Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine

Content from AstraZeneca

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

(Video: Washington Post Live)

Building Inclusivity and Trust in Cancer Research

In a segment presented by AstraZeneca, Hope Wohl, CEO of and Dr. Nadine J Barrett, Director of the Center for Equity in Research at the Duke Clinical Translational Science Institute, speak with Camille Hertzka, Vice President and Head of Oncology, US Medical at AstraZeneca to discuss the challenges to and importance of building inclusivity and trust in cancer research.

Dr. Nadine J. Barrett, PhD

Director, Center for Equity in Research, Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute

Associate Director, Equity, Community and Stakeholder Strategy, Duke Cancer Institute

Hope Wohl


Camille Hertzka

Vice President and Head of Oncology, US Medical at AstraZeneca