Saturday , April 1 2023

Focus on Black Men: Health is Wealth by City of Hope

Cancer Patients’ Bill of Rights

The Cancer Patients Bill of Rights outlines six key principles, proclaiming that cancer patients have a right to:

  • Understand fully their diagnosis and be informed about treatment options in culturally appropriate and understandable languages
  • Transparent and timely processes that ensure access to contracting oncology specialists, diagnostic testing and accurate interpretations of those tests
  • Contracting cancer subspecialists who have expertise in the treatment of their subtypes of cancer when complex decisions are needed
  • Medical treatments for pain management and other services that support their overall health
  • Contracting National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers and leading academic medical centers for the management of complex cancers that require multiple experts or high-risk or emerging therapies
  • Relevant clinical trials, medical research and cutting-edge innovation, including evidence-supported precision medicine

Clinical Trial info:

  • For more information on the Talzenna trial at COH, call the Clinical Trials Line at 1-877-467-3411. If you are interested in registering for the trial or becoming a new patient at COH, contact COH New Patient Services at 1-800-826-4673.
  • For more information on clinical trials in general, listeners can visit

Meet the Panelists

About the author

Rick Kittles, Ph.D.
Rick Kittles, Ph.D., is Professor and founding director of the Division of Health Equities within the Department of Population Sciences at the City of Hope (COH). He is also Associate Director of Health Equities of COH Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Kittles is well known for his research of prostate cancer and health disparities among African Americans. Dr. Kittles’ research has focused on understanding the complex issues surrounding race, genetic ancestry, and health disparities. Dr. Kittles received a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from George Washington University in 1998. His first faculty appointment was at Howard University where he helped establish the National Human Genome Center at Howard University.

Over the last twenty years he has been at the forefront of the development of genetic markers for ancestry and how genetic ancestry can be used in genetic studies on disease risk and outcomes. His work has shown the impact of genetic variation across populations in pharmacogenomics, biomarker discovery, and disease gene mapping. Dr. Kittles has NIH-funded projects to study genetic and environmental modifiers of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in order to improve our understanding of the role serum Vitamin D plays in health disparities. He is leading a multi-site collaboration studying modifiers of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and their role on prostate cancer susceptibility.

In 2010 Dr. Kittles was named in Ebony magazine’s “The Ebony Power 100.” Ebony selected the nation’s top 100 African-American “power players” in sports, academia, religion, business, environment, science & tech, entertainment, arts and letters, fashion, politics, media, activism and health. In March of 2012 Dr. Kittles presented the Keynote Address to the United Nations General Assembly, “International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.” Recently Dr. Kittles was named by The Huffington Post as one of “50 Iconic Black Trailblazers Who Represent Every State In America.”

Dr. Kittles has published over 200 research articles on prostate cancer genetics, Race and Genetics, and health disparities.

About the author

Fornati Bedell
Whether she’s volunteering at a clinic in Washington, D.C., or performing surgery for the people of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Fornati Bedell, M.D., M.H.S., is passionate about public health and works tirelessly to bring quality care to everyone. Dr. Bedell received her bachelor’s and master of health sciences degree from Johns Hopkins University and her medical degree from Georgetown University. She continued her training with residencies in surgery and urology at University of Maryland. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of urology and urologic oncology at City of Hope. In addition to being a board certified urologist, she has a strong background in public health, having obtained her bachelors in public health and further obtaining her masters in environmental health sciences with a focus on toxicology and pathophysiology.

About the author

Leanne Woods-Burnham, Ph.D.
Dr. Leanne Burnham is an Assistant Research Professor within the City of Hope Division of Health Equities whose research focuses on prostate cancer in Black men. She is passionate about addressing and eradicating this disease as her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer a decade ago, and many other family members have been diagnosed since. Since joining Dr. Rick Kittles’ “Dream Team” at City of Hope, she has explored the ability of molecular drivers—specifically HER2 and advanced glycation-end products—to promote aggressive prostate cancer differentially in Black men. She was recently awarded both the 2020 Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator and 2020 Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program Early Investigator Awards to further her studies. In the clinic, Dr. Burnham is most passionate about advancing breakthroughs in prostate cancer clinical trials designed to benefit Black men. As such, she has co-designed a recent trial funded by Prostate Cancer Foundation and Pfizer offering diverse patients access to the newest generation PARP inhibitor—talazoparib. Incidentally, she is a Stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer survivor and believes that her own experiences as a patient provide a unique perspective on patient care, treatment options, and survivorship. Dr. Burnham resides in Ontario, CA and most enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children.

About the author

Tanya Barauskas Dorff, MD
Tanya Barauskas Dorff, M.D., is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and serves as head of the genitourinary cancers program at City of Hope.
She attended UCLA School of Medicine where she was inducted into the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha honors society. She subsequently completed her internal medicine residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, and finished subspecialty training in hematology and oncology at Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. After 10 years on faculty at USC Keck School of Medicine, during which she was awarded a mentorship award for her work with medical students, she joined the City of Hope. She now heads the genitourinary cancer group, with a focus on translational research and immunotherapy. In particular, Dr. Dorff leads the PCF-funded effort to target prostate cancer using chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CarT) and is leading several other novel immunotherapy trials for prostate cancer. She has published more than 80 peer reviewed articles and more than 40 reviews and book chapters, and sits on the editorial boards for Clinical Genitourinary Cancer and Seminars in Urologic Oncology. Dr. Dorff has presented her research at national and international meetings.