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We are committed to advancing the standard of cancer care for all communities.

Our National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center designation means we meet the highest federal standards and signifies our commitment to advancing cancer research to reduce the cancer burden. As the Comprehensive Cancer Center for the Mountain West, Huntsman Cancer Institute has become a destination cancer center for all of Utah and the broader region. We achieve this by continuously improving cancer care standards, enhancing access to cancer prevention and screening programs, and training the next generation of the cancer workforce.

These programs are organized as part of a federally funded grant (NIH/NCI P30CA042014).

Gita Suneja, MD, MS

Senior Director of Programs to Enhance Diversity
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Key Areas of Focus

Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Office of Programs to Enhance Diversity is integral to our guiding principle to put the patient and community first as we strive to reduce the cancer burden in our state and region. In alignment with the requirements of our National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant accreditation, some of our priorities include the following:

Establishing strategies and priorities

Establishing strategies and priorities to improve access to our programs, including research, patient care, faculty and staff training, and engagement with the broader community in professional workforce development initiatives.

Promoting access

Promoting access to cancer research, care, hiring, training, and more for all members of our community.

Ensuring discoveries reach all communities

Ensuring our cancer science discoveries reach all communities, with a special focus on programs that address the disparities of the people in the area we serve—Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, including rural and frontier populations. These programs address distance as a major disparity in access to cancer screening, care, and other essential services. We are committed to meeting federal requirements that mandate access for rural and frontier populations, older adults, and children and extending our scope broadly to all members of the population.

Evaluating research program participation

Evaluating participation in our region’s largest clinical cancer research program operated by Huntsman Cancer Institute, organized directly under the infrastructure of our Cancer Center Support Grant. This grant requires us to ensure representation across gender, racial and ethnic diversity, rural and frontier status, and age groups. These are important metrics to evaluate whether people in the Mountain West have access to our best care.

More than 300 cutting-edge clinical trials are currently available, with many that are the first or only in the region. Because there are so many new cancer drugs, clinical trials are the best possible care that any person diagnosed with cancer can receive. We are dedicated to ensuring the people we serve have access to these options—particularly when they must overcome burdens like travel and time away from work and family to access them.

Contributing to scientific and medical advancement

Contributing to a range of activities designed to advance scientific and medical insights that will improve our research and clinical programs. These efforts are organized around understanding and serving communities across the Mountain West.

Lecture Series

Educational lecture series on issues in health care. For example, best practices for reaching out to Spanish-speaking populations or considerations in providing cancer care to individuals with disabilities or New American communities. These lectures facilitate connections and offer resources for Huntsman Cancer Institute medical providers and research faculty to provide compassionate cancer care to all communities we serve.

PathMaker Program

Unique nationally-recognized and federally-funded PathMaker training program designed to introduce junior high, high school, and early college students to careers in medicine. These programs are broad and provide scientific training opportunities and laboratory experiences for students and secondary science teachers in Utah. For example, about 70% of participants in the program are from communities outside of Salt Lake City, including rural and frontier areas.


Partnerships with communities and organizations across the state of Utah to reach all groups, including the Association for Utah Community Health Centers, the HPV Vaccination Coalition, and genetic counselors across the region. 

Land Acknowledgement

Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah rests on Indigenous land that reflects the rich history of our state and region. We are committed to honoring, respecting, and protecting the story and the People of this sacred place.

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