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Dr. Saied Calvino receives national award for work on decreasing cancer care disparities

Dr. Abdul Saied Calvino, a board-certified surgical oncologist with Roger Williams Medical Center, is the recipient of the 2018 Carol Friedman Award, given annually to recognize outstanding achievement in cancer care. The honorees are chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Comprehensive Cancer Control Branch. Dr. Calvino is one of only two honorees to receive the award nationally this year.

This year’s theme was excellence in addressing cancer disparities. Dr. Calvino was recognized for his work since 2016 to increase colorectal cancer screening and education in Rhode Island’s Hispanic community. In 2016, Dr. Calvino and his colleagues at Roger Williams launched a community outreach and navigation program for Hispanics in Rhode Island, who represent 15% of the state’s population. The goals were to increase screening rates, decrease incidence, and increase early diagnosis. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in Rhode Island.

Over a 19-month period, 398 patients were enrolled in the Roger Williams’ program with a colonoscopy completion rate of 93%. In that group, 155 patients (42%) required polypectomy, and 57 (15%) patients underwent surgery for colorectal cancer. Post-colonoscopy survey was uniformly positive across all participants and 76% said that they would not have completed colonoscopy without the program.

Another goal of the program was to educate underserved communities about colorectal cancer treatment and prevention. Dr. Calvino and his program coordinator Gisela Gomes worked with Hispanic, Southeast Asian, and Native American communities to hold more than 20 outreach events in collaboration with organizations like the American Cancer Society, Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Latino Cancer Control Task Force, reaching hundreds of individuals in these communities.

Dr. Calvino is a board member of the Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island, chairing the Screening and Detection Work Group. He also serves on the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Program Advisory Committee. Dr. Calvino is an Assistant Professor at Boston University.