At the University of Illinois Cancer Center, we are dedicated to the pursuit of health equity and study of disparities.
We are part of the University of Illinois Health organization (UI Health) and work with cancer researchers from 11 different colleges located across three campuses (Chicago, Peoria, Rockford) within the University of Illinois system. UI Health includes a 495-bed tertiary care hospital, 22 outpatient clinics, and 13 Mile Square Health Center facilities, which are Federally Qualified Health Centers.
As medical professionals and scientists, we believe it is our responsibility to not only provide exceptional care but also to generate new knowledge through innovative research and scientific discovery, including how cancer occurs and why it affects people differently. In many communities where we work, cancer and mortality rates are much higher than the national average, and we staunchly refuse to accept this as status quo. Our research is focused on health disparities because we know a one size fits all approach serves no one, and to treat the whole person we must understand what makes us unique, not only in our biology but also in our surroundings and experiences. As we learn more about the origins, prevention and treatment of cancer we translate laboratory findings to advances in personalized medicine, patient care and how information is shared with our community.
With 13 federally qualified health center sites as part of our system, we are able to seamlessly bring our research into the neighborhoods we serve, and to involve community members to advise us on the best ways to work within their towns and villages. This helps us understand the best way to involve more local people in research efforts, get screened and treated for cancer and other diseases, and enroll in clinical trials.
More than 100 faculty members within the University of Illinois system study cancer in both rural and urban areas and approach this dangerous disease from a variety of viewpoints. Members of the Cancer Center are all cancer researchers, but they may also be clinicians, social workers, dentists, epidemiologists and biologists. We focus our oncology and disparities research into three categories: Basic Science, Translational Oncology and Cancer Prevention and Control, also known as Population Health. We also believe we must engage and empower the next generation of scientists who are involved in several programs geared toward opening up the world of oncology to students to build the ranks of researchers who more closely mirror the community we serve.