The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute Launches Cancer Equity Compass

Reston, VA – The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute (HPI) announces the public launch of a new online tool that reveals the overlap between cancer disparities and social determinants of health (SDOH) using advanced heat maps of U.S. counties. The Cancer Equity Compass (CEC) can identify high-opportunity targets for policies and programs to achieve equitable health outcomes in underserved populations.

The CEC maps display the relationship between key cancer disparities – screening, prevalence and mortality rates – and 16 SDOH measures such as education, income, minority rates, social vulnerability, and pollution. The full U.S. view allows users to identify geographical patterns within regions of the country.  CEC maps cover the 4 most common cancers with approximately 1 million new cases per year:  breast, prostate, colorectal and lung. 

The objective of the CEC is to improve equity by identifying not only the extent of cancer disparities in different populations and communities, but to pinpoint community SDOH factors that may be barriers that lead to disparities and inequities. CEC visualization and reports can help guide researchers, community leaders, policy makers and other stakeholders in developing studies, policies and programs for large scale impact.

“This is an important tool that can support a multi-faceted approach to reduce disparities and promote equity. Disparities are multi-factorial and solutions require integrated data to inform solutions and measure impact.  The Cancer Equity Compass provides this integration of data in a way that is useful for a wide range of stakeholders,” explains Augusto Ochoa, MD, Augusta Ochoa, MD, Chair, Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology Deputy Director, LSU-LCMC Cancer Center and Professor of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.  Dr. Ochoa is an advisor on the CEC project along with 6 other nationally recognized experts in cancer prevention and health equity.

There are numerous avenues for the CEA to improve equity, including:

  • Identify the sources and correlates of disparities, including health care access, socioeconomic status, community characteristics, that are fundamental to developing policy and programs for large scale impact
  • Identify high opportunity targets for improving equity and informing solutions with data on specific populations, communities, and health care settings
  • Enhance diversity in clinical trial recruitment and data registries through selection/recruitment of sites for more inclusive research
  • Measure year-over-year change to determine the results of equity initiatives, support improvement efforts, and report impact

The CEC is built on a multi-level integrated database that uses Medicare healthcare claims data from a 5% sample of fee-for-service beneficiaries and multiple cited sources of county SDOH data to enable robust analytics. CEC users select the type of cancer and SDOH metrics to map, and then can select specific counties for reporting of local community data. The project received support from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Health Equity Initiative and the Radiology Health Equity Coalition, a group of 10 radiology societies convened by the American College of Radiology to collaborate to improve health care equity.

“Policy to improve cancer prevention and promote equitable outcomes is a primary focus area for our work at the Neiman Health Policy Institute.  The genesis of the Cancer Equity Compass was recognition that our extensive national healthcare data has the potential to catalyze change if we can get data-driven insights to the people who can make an impact,” explained Elizabeth Rula, PhD, Executive Director of the Neiman Institute.  “We are incredibly grateful for the resources we have been provided by the American College of Radiology, AWS, the Radiology Health Equity Coalition, and the invaluable input of our advisory group in developing the CEC.”

The Neiman Institute plans to continue to expand the CEC with additional features such as new community data points, such as access to care, and additional years of data.

To obtain a copy of the study or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, contact Nichole Gonzalez at  [email protected].




About the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute

The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute is one of the nation’s leading medical imaging socioeconomic research organizations. The Neiman Institute studies the role and value of radiology and radiologists in evolving health care delivery and payment systems and the impact of medical imaging on the cost, quality, safety and efficiency of health care. Visit us at and follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.


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