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Dr. Kristy BromanFor many residents of rural America, the location and availability of cancer care directly impact their treatment plans. This is the question that motivates UAB Division of Surgical Oncology Assistant Professor Kristy Broman, M.D., MPH, FACS – How can we use existing systems of care to ensure that the high-quality care available at specialized centers like UAB is accessible to more patients, including those who live in rural areas or have difficulty traveling to a cancer center?

Recently selected for a five-year National Institutes of Health K08 award for her study entitled “Leveraging Health Systems to Increase Implementation of Evidence-Based Surgical Cancer Care,” Broman will study the characteristics and strategies that health systems can use to make sure the latest evidence and specialized expertise reaches affiliated sites.

Dr. Broman will focus on common cancers including breast cancer and melanoma. Despite being two of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Alabama these cancers are very specialized– typically requiring the arduous trek to a cancer center.

“We know from prior work with patients at one of UAB’s rural affiliate hospitals, Russell Medical Center, that the journey to receive treatment is not easy for patients traveling to specialized centers for cancer care. In many cases, family members have to take off work to drive patients or modify very limited childcare options to make a visit to a major medical center,” Broman notes.“ We have studied the model developed by our colleagues in the UAB Division of Breast & Endocrine Surgery showing that patients managed at our affiliate hospital receive the same high-quality cancer care as patients treated at UAB.

While this is one successful example in one health system, in the upcoming grant Dr. Broman and her team will study the treatment of additional cancers at hundreds of United States health systems to gain a broader understanding of the strategies that work and those that don’t. This will involve comparing how different hospitals and systems adopt evidence into practice and talking with health system leaders and cancer care providers across the country. They hope to establish a foundation of evidence that can be used to design better health systems here in Alabama and beyond.

An alumni of the Veterans Affairs National Quality Scholar Program, Broman draws her research inspiration back to her training at the Nashville VA Medical Center.

“This study builds upon my current background of looking at how we can improve medical systems of care and incorporates the steps of implementation mapping to help us understand how we can give the best quality of cancer care to the most people possible,” Broman adds.

In total, the awarded funding will total almost $1 million throughout the length of the research grant.

About Dr. Kristy Broman

Dr. Broman is board-certified in Complex General Surgical Oncology and treats tumors of the skin and soft tissue, breast, extremities, and retroperitoneum, including melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, advanced basal cell carcinoma, breast cancer, and several types of sarcoma.

She serves as Lead for the Skin and Soft Tissue Cancer Management Team, Associate Cancer Liaison physician for the O’Neal Cancer Service Line, and Co-Lead of the UAB Women in Surgery group. As a member of the UAB Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship, she conducts health services and outcomes research, emphasizing implementation strategies for the delivery of high-quality care across the cancer care continuum.