The White House Office of Public Engagement has asked Brandon Mahal, M.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology and assistant director of Community Outreach and Engagement at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, to participate in its newly formed Health Equity Leaders Roundtable Series.
Twice each month, 14 accomplished clinicians representing medical specialties, nursing, social work, public health, and medical education gather to offer perspectives on access to care and how to ensure all people get equitable care regardless of such factors as race, insurance, and immigration status.
“The goal of each Roundtable is for us to learn from each of you and listen to your perspectives with the hope of informing future approaches on the issue of health equity,” White House Fellow Alister Martin, M.D., M.P.P., wrote in a letter to Roundtable participants.
Dr. Mahal, the only participant to represent oncology and the only one practicing in Florida, said the White House wants to hear from the nation’s established and up-and-coming clinical leaders in health equity.
“The White House plans to continue this initiative into the foreseeable future,” Dr. Mahal said. “We had our first meeting to discuss health equity, how it impacts our community and our institutions and what our institutions are doing to combat health care disparities. My role is to be the voice of cancer disparities and cancer health equity, and I bring that voice representing Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.”
Dr. Mahal is nationally known for his research in cancer disparities and community outreach and engagement. He has authored papers published in October and November, alone, in peer-reviewed journals including a study on prostate cancer disparities Prostate Cancer Disparities in Risk Group at Presentation and Access to Treatment for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders: A Study With Disaggregated Ethnic Groups - PubMed (nih.gov); a study looking at disparities in breast and prostate cancer treatment in the U.S. Trends in Receipt of Shorter Regimens of Radiation Therapy and Treatment Noncompletion Disparities Among Breast and Prostate Cancer Patients in the United States - PubMed (nih.gov); and “Reporting of Racial Health Disparities Research: Are We Making Progress?” published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
“The White House wants to learn about best practices nationwide, so they can use the lessons and themes to inform policy at the highest level,” Dr. Mahal said.
“Dr. Mahal’s appointment reflects not only the quality and importance of research conducted at Sylvester and the Miller School, but also offers an opportunity to communicate issues that are directly impacting the local and regional community and its patients,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief medical officer at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “We’re very pleased that Dr. Mahal’s work in this area is being recognized at such a high level that will lead to change.”
“We have a voice directly in the White House and can express what we need to improve cancer outcomes in our own community,” he said.
It is one thing to conduct research that impacts populations of patients; it is another to have a potential impact on policy.
“I am honored and privileged to have this opportunity to represent my community and my institution in this effort,” Dr. Mahal said. “With research I identify problems that contribute to cancer disparities and health equity issues. The reason I do that work is to look for and study solutions and I try to show where solutions may work. But ultimately, the solutions are limited without policy implementation. Now, at the highest level, I can bring my research and solutions to the White House to potentially impact national policy.”