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Bruce Jacobs, MD, Awarded R37 MERIT Award

June 6, 2022

Dr. Bruce JacobsBruce Jacobs, MD, MPH, assistant professor of urology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was recently awarded an R37 MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to look at the potential downstream consequences of centralized cancer care.

The study, titled “Centralization of Cancer Care: Implications for Access, Outcomes, and Disparities,” aims to critically examine the impact of cancer centralization at the population level, with a specific focus on whether centralization is widening health disparities.

“This study is important because it will provide clinicians, hospitals, and policymakers with new data on the ways centralization may be both helping and harming patients, leading to new strategies to minimize health disparities with implications for interventions and policy changes at multiple levels,” says Dr. Jacobs.

Dr. Jacobs and his team will use a novel mixed-methods approach as well as an innovative dataset linking cancer registry and administrative data in two large states (New York and Pennsylvania) over a 10-year period. They will focus on patients with the most prevalent (i.e., bladder, breast, colorectal, lung, prostate) and lethal (i.e., brain, esophageal, liver, lung, pancreatic) cancers. 

“Although centralization undoubtedly improves outcomes for the patients who receive care at high-volume centers, the impact of centralization on outcomes at the population level remains unknown,” says Dr. Jacobs. “Of specific concern are the patients who do not receive care at regional centers of excellence. These patients may suffer unintended consequences of centralization, including decreased capability at low-volume centers and decreased access to high-quality care. This award allows us to study these issues in detail.”

According to the NCI, the Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) R37 Award provides longer term grant support to early-stage investigators beginning with new, competing awards issued in FY 2018. It is a $2.5 million grant and spans four years.

See more research by Bruce Jacobs, MD, MPH.