Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Research
Skip to main content

Chicago's Zip Code Issue with Melissa Simon, MD

In Chicago, where you live can impact your likelihood to die from cancer. Melissa Simon, MD, wants to change that. Find out how this scientist, educator and advocate for the underserved is working to improve the cancer mortality gap in Chicago.

 

Melissa Simon, MD

"Why was this happening to women when they're in the same city with the same five very large, well-known academic medical centers and other community hospitals and clinics across the city and not to mention millions of dollars in research funding around breast cancer being poured into the city?"

Melissa Simon, MD

  • Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Director, Institute for Public Health and Medicine's Center for Health Equity Transformation

Episode Summary

It's a fact: Where you live can impact your likelihood to die from cancer. Melissa Simon, MD, wants to change that. She's dedicated her career at Northwestern to health equity outreach and studies. In particular, her work has focused on improving cancer rates in Latino, African-American and Chinese communities.

In Chicago, depending on where you live, there are issues with access, awareness and education when it comes to cancer and other health-related issues.

In 2007, when Simon began at Feinberg, data demonstrated a disparity in breast cancer mortality of 62 percent between black patients and white patients in the Chicago area.

Melissa Simon: "Why was this happening to women when they're in the same city with the same five very large, well-known academic medical centers and other community hospitals and clinics across the city and not to mention millions of dollars in research funding around breast cancer being poured into the city?"

Simon and her group created the Chicago Metropolitan task force to focus on this data and figure out why this was happening.

Melissa Simon: "There were many reasons for the difference in the cancer rate, but the top three included that black women were getting mammograms but weren't receiving their results. The quality of mammography was not consistent across the city, including the reading of mammography and treatment and follow-up were not consistent across the city. So some women were getting diagnosed with cancer but having delays in entering treatment or not entering treatment at all. And then there were problems with follow-up once enrolled in treatment."

Simon says the death rate differential has been reduced to 40 percent in the past decade.

Melissa Simon: "So that is closing and it is very promising, that we've been able to turn this around, but it has taken a lot of effort."

Read more about Simon's work.

Melissa Simon has nothing to disclose. 

 

Continuing Medical Education Credit

Physicians who listen to this podcast may claim continuing medical education credit after listening to an episode of this program.

 
Target Audience

Academic/Research, Multiple specialties

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the research interests and initiatives of Feinberg faculty.
  2. Discuss new updates in clinical and translational research.
Accreditation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine designates this Enduring Material for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Claim your credit
Back to top