NCI Launches Persistent Poverty Initiative

Published on: 

The persistent poverty initiative aims to fight the cumulative effects of persistent poverty on cancer outcomes.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced on June 26, 2023 that it had been awarded $50 million by the Biden-Harris administration to launch the Persistent Poverty Initiative. Intended to alleviate the cumulative effects of persistent poverty on cancer outcomes, the program will build research capacity, foster cancer prevention research, and promote implementation of community-based programs, according to an agency press release.

The awards will create five new centers for cancer control research in persistent poverty areas. Persistent poverty areas are defined as those where, for the past 30 years, 20% or more of the population has lived below the federal poverty line. According to the release, people who live in these areas have a higher incidence of cancer, experience delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and are more likely to die from cancer than people not living in poverty.

According to the release, each center will work with targeted low-income communities to implement and measure the effectiveness of structural interventions for cancer control and prevention, follow-up care, and survivorship. This includes research in areas such as reducing obesity, improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, helping people quit smoking, and improving living conditions through supplemental income. Additionally, the centers will help train early-career investigators to work with underserved communities in conducting multilevel intervention research.


“Persistent poverty is a place-based and community phenomenon that reflects a failure of the structures and institutions in society, including health care,” said Shobha Srinivasan, senior advisor for Health Disparities and Health Equity, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI, in the release. “Conducting research to understand the connections between institutions—such as social, economic, and health systems—and persistent poverty is the only way to inform changes to social conditions and determinants of health that will ultimately improve overall health, cancer control, and cancer outcomes.”

Source: National Cancer Institute