Dr. Shana Ntiri recently became the new medical director or the Baltimore City Cancer Program (BCCP). The program is an outreach effort of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, and focuses on cancer education and screening among uninsured residents of Baltimore City.
Q. Explain a little about your professional background and your new role with the Baltimore City Cancer Program.
A. I came to the University of Maryland for the purpose of residency with the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Upon completion of my residency I joined the faculty of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, my time is divided between patient care, graduate education, primary care research and most recently, serving as the Medical Director for the Baltimore City Cancer Program.
Q. What attracted you to this position? What in your background prepares you for this role?
A. The Baltimore City Cancer Program (BCCP) is a model for prevention and early detection within an underserved community. The program truly utilizes the resources of the Baltimore community in order to enhance the health of the city. BCCP actualizes the principles of prevention on both an individual and a community level. Prior to entering medical school at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, I completed my Master of Public Health in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Boston University. During my graduate studies I developed an interest in minority health and working with underserved populations. BCCP provides me an ideal opportunity to implement my background in both public health and primary care.
Q. What are the special challenges facing the program and why?
A. As with so many other programs, funding is a challenge which is ever present. We are currently funded through the Avon Foundation, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Maryland Affiliate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Q. What are your goals for the BCCP in the several years?
BCCP is entering its ninth year of service to the residents of Baltimore City. In the upcoming year, the main focus will be on the expansion of our foundation of outreach, education and screening. A new initiative that BCCP is instituting this year is colorectal cancer screening. As we start this new initiative, we want to ensure that our rates of screening and detection for colorectal cancer are as successful as our prior and ongoing initiatives have been.
Looking further, into the next five years or so, I look forward to further developing our community-based [vs. centered] research agenda and enhancing the strong foundation of outreach and involvement with clinical research trials through the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. Ongoing efforts of BCCP will always be strengthening our outreach and collaborative efforts.
Q. Talk a bit about the staff you work with in the program.
A. The BCCP staff is comprised of 12 women with a variety of expertise in clinical care, social work, case management, data management, outreach, and health education. Each woman brings her own unique flavor to the program, and that is largely what has driven the success of BCCP. I am honored to join such a phenomenal group of women who are doing so much to impact the burden of cancer in the city of Baltimore.
Q. Can you briefly explain the program’s connection with the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund Program?
A. In 2001, the State of Maryland established the Cigarette Restitution Fund Program and created the Cancer Prevention, Education, Screening and Treatment Program (CPEST), a statewide initiative to reduce the number of cancer deaths. The Cigarette Restitution Fund serves as a major source of funding for the Baltimore City Cancer Program.