Dr. Jennifer Weiss receives collaborative health sciences program award to improve colorectal cancer screening

2017 file photo of Jennifer Weiss, MD, MS

Jennifer Weiss, MD, MS, associate professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology (pictured above in a 2017 file photo), received a Wisconsin Partnership Program Collaborative Health Sciences Program award for a new interdisciplinary research project that aims to improve rates of colorectal cancer screening in Wisconsin.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Wisconsin. It is also the most preventable, yet least prevented cancer. Screening is important for early detection, but disparities in screening rates exist between Wisconsin clinics. Urban clinics tend to have higher screening rates than their rural counterparts, though some rural clinics are notably high performing.

Through the project, "Comparison of Successful Colorectal Cancer Screening Strategies in Wisconsin Rural and Urban Settings: Achieving "80% In Every Community," Dr. Weiss and colleagues will engage partners at high-performing clinics to determine what strategies work best for improving colorectal cancer screening rates, and leverage those strategies to improve screening rates at low-performing clinics in both rural and urban communities.

The long-term goal of the research is to decrease statewide colorectal cancer incidence and mortality.

Co-principal investigators are Robert Greenlee, PhD, MPH, from Marshfield Clinic, and James Ford, PhD, from the UW School of Pharmacy. Guanhua Chen, PhD, from the UW Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, and Christopher Queram, from the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, are collaborators.

Douglas McNeel, MD, PhDDouglas McNeel, MD, PhD, professor, Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care (pictured on right), is a collaborator on a separate new Collaborative Health Sciences Program award, "Defining and Targeting Novel Anti-Viral and Anti-Cancer T Cell Immunity." Shigeki Miyamoto, PhD, from the UW Department of Oncology, is the principal investigator for that project.

The Collaborative Health Sciences Program provides awards for up to $600,000 over three years to support novel ideas and new approaches to interdisciplinary research or education benefiting Wisconsin’s residents.