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Beth Israel Medical Center Receives Major American Cancer Society Grant Toward Improving Pain Management in Chinese Cancer Patients

$1.76 Million Grant from the American Cancer Society to Hospital's Nationally Recognized Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care and Asian Services Center

NEW YORK, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Beth Israel Medical Center's nationally recognized Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care and the Asian Services Center has received a $1.76 million grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS) to study the best ways to improve pain management in community-dwelling Chinese cancer patients in New York City. The grant announces a partnership with the department, the Asian Services Center, and community oncologists to create and test a highly innovative model of rapid quality improvement in an economically disadvantaged community of largely first and second generation Chinese Americans.

"This grant allows us to examine a method to improve health care access and the practice capacity of community oncologists to deliver state-of-the-art pain interventions to the growing population of Chinese cancer patients," said Lara Dhingra, Ph.D., study principal investigator and Attending Psychologist in the Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care. "There is a major need to develop and distribute best practices strategies to manage cancer pain in real-life settings, especially in underserved communities."

"This is the first known study to bring QI to the large population of Chinese cancer patients," said Tak Kwan, MD, Executive Chief of the Asian Services Center. "The study will develop and test a QI program to improve pain and symptoms among underserved, community-based Chinese American cancer patients, and evaluate factors that influence its uptake and sustainability."

This five-year $1.76 million grant aims to test the effectiveness of a quality improvement (QI) intervention to enhance pain management for underserved ethnic Chinese cancer patients. It will also determine whether the intervention can be applied to improve other symptoms, such as fatigue and shortness of breath. Barriers and facilitators of the intervention will be identified, including cultural influences.

"The Asian community has been actively supporting the American Cancer Society's research efforts by participating in various fundraising activities," said Ming-der Chang, MD, Vice President of the American Cancer Society's Asian Initiatives. "This award demonstrates that the American Cancer Society is committed to reducing the disparities in cancer among the Asian community."

"Receiving this grant highlights the continuing strong relationship Beth Israel has with the Asian community," said Russell K. Portenoy, MD, Chairman of the Department. "This collaboration allows us to provide community-based programs that are most likely to yield strong benefits."

Chinese Americans, the largest Asian subgroup in the U.S. with 3.6 million people, have a high rate of cancer, particularly nasopharyngeal, liver, and stomach. Chinese Americans are represented by a growing number of recent immigrants (50 percent) who are economically disadvantaged and medically underserved. Patients commonly present with advanced illness and have a higher risk for poorly controlled pain. Although QI methodologies have the potential to improve pain control, there is a lack of QI programs in pain and symptom management for this population.

"This study will bring benefits to Chinese American cancer patients by improving pain treatment and understanding barriers to care," said Kin Lam, MD, Director of Community Oncology for the Asian Services Center. "We are grateful to cancer patients in the community for supporting this work. Without them, our research in this area would not be possible."

The Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care at Beth Israel Medical Center offers a broad array of therapies for chronic pain of all types. The highly trained medical team includes pain specialists with backgrounds in Neurology, Rehabilitation Medicine, Anesthesiology, and Psychology. The department is part of the nonprofit hospital system in New York, Continuum Health Partners, comprising of five historically distinguished hospitals including Beth Israel Medical Center, Roosevelt Hospital, St. Luke's Hospital, Long Island College Hospital, and The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Together, Continuum Health Partners offers a full range of primary care and specialty treatments using the most advanced approaches available. The Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care can be reached by calling (877) 620-9999 or visiting

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service. For more information or to volunteer, call the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345 or visit it's Web site at

SOURCE Beth Israel Medical Center
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