Dejana Braithwaite, Ph.D., joins leadership of national consortium to address health disparities

Dejana Braithwaite, Ph.D., associate director for cancer population sciences at the UF Health Cancer Center, has joined the leadership council of a national consortium that works to combat tobacco- and cancer-related health disparities.

Dejana Braithwaite, Ph.D., second from left in the back row, has joined the leadership council of the SelfMade Health Network.

The SelfMade Health Network (SMHN), part of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consortium of national organizations, works to prevent commercial tobacco use and cancer in populations with low socioeconomic characteristics. It addresses health disparities by educating, empowering and mobilizing community systems.

“My goal is to work with other leadership council members to determine relevant topics that SMHN as a CDC national network should focus on to create a national and regional impact,” said Braithwaite, a professor of surgery and epidemiology in the UF College of Medicine and UF College of Public and Health Professions. “For example, our collective input in a national advisory role is traditionally reflected in various forms such as white papers, joint statements, or recommendations about initiatives, projects and mini-grants that SMHN should fund, as well as fact sheet or webinar topics that SMHN should address.”

The SMHN is operated through the Patient Advocate Foundation, which provides a co-pay relief program for patients. The SMHN is jointly funded by the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health and Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. Its partners include employers, business groups, national and regional leaders-associations, faith-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, health system organizations, state and county-level government agencies, individual researchers and professors from academic institutions, and advocates.

Braithwaite, co-leader of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences research program at the Cancer Center, was elected to the council based on her expertise in the intersection of cancer and aging and understanding of the important challenges, issues and patterns that vulnerable populations experience. Her NIH-funded research focuses on breast and lung cancer screening, risk factors and outcomes, as well as breast cancer surveillance.