Concurrent Sessions

D4 – Increasing cancer screening rates and reducing related disparities: Insights for your team

Theme 4. Presentation Details

  • Date: Thursday October 25, 2018
  • Concurrent Session D
  • Time: 9:45-10:30am
  • Room: Pier 4
  • Style: Presentation (information provided to audience, with opportunity for audience to ask question)
  • Focus: Balance between both (e.g. Presentation of a best-practice guideline that combines research evidence, policy issues and practical steps for implementation)
  • Target Audience: Leadership (ED, clinical lead, board chair, board member, etc.), Clinical providers, Administrative staff, Representatives of stakeholder/partner organizations

Learning Objectives

  1. Compare the effectiveness of phone calls versus reminder letters as a method of recall for cancer screening at our Family Health Team
  2. Explore equity issues related to cancer screening, including the sociodemographic characteristics of patients overdue for screening, as well as issues unique to patients who are transgender
  3. Describe findings from qualitative research undertaken to co-design screening interventions with patients living with a low income
  4. Discuss innovative methods to improve overall cancer screening rates and reduce related disparities in Family Health Teams in general


Due to its clear benefits for reducing morbidity and mortality, cancer screening is often used as a quality indicator in primary care. However, it can be difficult to achieve for primary care practices to achieve cancer screening targets, particularly if they serve many marginalized patients.

The St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team (SMHAFHT) is a large academic primary care organization serving close to 45,000 enrolled patients at six clinical practices geographically dispersed within the inner-city of Toronto, Canada. Our patient population is diverse and includes many patients from marginalized groups, such as new immigrants, refugees, people who are homeless, those living in poverty, and those who identify as transgender.

This interactive session will be an opportunity for attendees to learn more about quality improvement initiatives at the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team that has aimed to reduce disparities in cancer screening and improve overall cancer screening rates. We will review i) results of a randomized trial that we conducted, ii) an analysis that used patient-reported health equity data to understand gaps in screening, and iii) our efforts to understand cancer screening rates among our transgender population. As well, we will present findings from qualitative research to co-design solutions with patients living with a low income, and present preliminary findings from these co-designed solutions.


  • Aisha Lofters, Authors & Contributors, Family Physician, St. Michael’ Hospital Academic Family Health Team
  • Tara Kiran, Family Physician, St. Michael’ Hospital Academic Family Health Team


  • Natalie Baker, Applied Health Research Centre, St. Michael’ Hospital