Blacks Have Less Access to Cancer Specialists, Treatment

UC San Diego Study Suggests Racial Inequality Leads to Higher Mortality

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say metastatic colorectal cancer patients of African-American descent are less likely to be seen by cancer specialists or receive cancer treatments. This difference in treatment explains a large part of the 15 percent higher mortality experienced by African-American patients than non-Hispanic white patients. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Department of Medicine co-investigators on the project are Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS, associate professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology; Gregory Heestand, MD, Health Sciences assistant clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Paul Fanta, MD, MS, Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology.

Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS  Gregory Heestand, MD  Paul Fanta, MD, MS
Above, from left: Drs. Samir Gupta, Gregory Heestand, and Paul Fanta

Citation for the study report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute:

Daniel R. Simpson, María Elena Martínez, Samir Gupta, Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, Loren K. Mell, Gregory Heestand, Paul Fanta, Sonia Ramamoorthy, Quynh-Thu Le, and James D. Murphy. Racial Disparity in Consultation, Treatment, and the Impact on Survival in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst first published online November 14, 2013 doi:10.1093/jnci/djt318  |  Full text (UCSD only)

In Memoriam: Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD

Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD

Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD

The Department of Medicine celebrates the life and mourns the passing on August 6 of Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of medicine and inaugural chief of the Division of International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine, now the Division of Global Public Health.

An influential leader in the field of international health and health policy, Simon was a founding father of the UCSD School of Medicine. He was recruited to the school in 1966 and served as its first dean of admissions, education and student affairs.

He wove global health training into the curriculum, designing community-based and international programs for students. Among these were courses in Spanish and cross-cultural issues that were the first of their kind in the nation.

Nationally and internationally, Simon advanced global health training and cultural awareness in medicine. His many achievements included the establishment of the Division of International Health for the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. With particular concern for small, isolated countries, he advised developing nations as they established medical education and health care delivery systems.

In 2001, the Harold J. Simon Chair In International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine was established in his honor at UCSD.

Quoted in a UCSD press release at that time, Simon said, “I think it is necessary for all students to realize that there are significant differences in disease incidence and prevalence, in the way health care is delivered, and how concepts of health and illness are viewed by diverse cultures throughout the world. Medicine doesn’t recognize any geographic or national borders.

“In a world where the inequalities of health are grotesque; where for many millions of people health is absent throughout life; where nevertheless every individual has the right to the enjoyment of health, are we as doctors content to leave things as they are?”

Dr. Steffanie StrathdeeThe Harold J. Simon Chair In International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine is now held by Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health.

Quoted in a La Jolla Patch memorial story about Simon last week, Strathdee said, “He will be remembered by our division as its founder and tireless mentor, and by his students the world over as their inspiration to a career in global health.

“For me personally,” she said, “I have lost a treasured friend.”

More Information:

Press release: UCSD Chair in International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine Named For Harold J. Simon, M.D., Ph.D. UCSD School of Medicine News, Health Sciences Communications press release, February 8, 2001.  |  Read the story

Video interview: Harold Simon, Founding Father at UC San Diego School of Medicine. UCSD Medical Center video posted February 2, 2012. |  Watch video

Interview: Dr. Harold Simon of La Jolla reviews his legacy in medicine at UCSD. La Jolla Light interview posted on February 28, 2012.  |  Read interview

Memorial story: Harold Simon, Founding Member of UCSD School of Medicine, Dies at 85. La Jolla Patch story, posted on August 15, 2013.  |  Read story

Memorial story: First Dean of Admissions at UCSD’s School of Medicine. San Diego Union-Tribune, posted August 18, 2013.  |  Read story