Head & Neck Cancer Health Care Delivery Research Program

Charleston harbor

The primary goal of the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center Head and Neck Cancer Healthcare Delivery Research Program is to improve the delivery of timely, equitable, guideline-adherent care among patients with head and neck cancer through the development and implementation of theory-based, multilevel interventions. Concurrently, we also aim to deepen our understanding of the underlying determinants of guideline-adherent head and neck cancer care delivery and advance our fundamental understanding of head and neck cancer care delivery across the cancer care continuum. Ultimately, we hope that by developing targeted multilevel interventions that modify the structure and processes by which head and neck cancer care is delivered, we can improve survival and decrease racial disparities in outcomes in this patient population.

Currently, our team is working to identify the mechanisms that underlie treatment delays and guideline non-adherent care among patients with head and neck cancer and address them through the following lines of research:

  1. Characterizing the multilevel barriers to timely care among patients with head and neck cancer.
  2. Creating clinically-relevant models to predict treatment delays through geospatial analysis incorporating social determinants of health, neural network-based machine learning algorithms, and the analysis of large registry datasets.
  3. Developing and implementing multilevel interventions to decrease delays and racial disparities among patients with head and neck cancer.
  4. Leveraging technology-enhanced delivery platforms to improve access-to-care among patients with head and neck cancer.

Our multidisciplinary team of investigators includes clinicians, psychologists, behavioral scientists, epidemiologists, and health care delivery researchers with expertise in head and neck cancer, cancer disparities, dissemination and implementation research, mHealth, patient navigation, population health, and clinical trials. Because patient-centered care is critical to our research program, our team includes patient advocates and supports patient and stakeholder engagement to extend the scientific and clinical impact of our research. This website provides information regarding the following:

Clinical Trials

NDURE Study - Navigation for Disparities and Untimely Radiation Therapy

We are currently recruiting patients for the NDURE study, a trial funded by the National Cancer Institute to evaluate whether a new patient multilevel healthcare delivery intervention can decrease delays starting radiation therapy after surgery for white and African American head and neck cancer patients relative to standard care. Patients with head and neck cancer are eligible for this study. If you are interested, please contact Andrea Carlton at 843-876-1176 or carltoan@musc.edu.