Colon cancer rates have been rising for decades in younger people, study finds – NBC News

Colorectal cancer rates have been rising for decades among people younger than the age recommended for routine screening, new research finds. Despite the increases, the overall number of cases in people younger than 40 was still low. In people under age 30, cases remained exceedingly rare. Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, provided expert commentary in the NBC News article Colon cancer rates have been rising for decades in younger people, study finds. (May 2024)


An inspiring weekend in LA with women in GI

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) supports women in gastroenterology by offering opportunities for career and professional development as a part of a framework to advance gender equity in gastroenterology. To support these efforts, they’ve been bringing together women in GI for regional workshops across the country. The most recent workshop was held at the UCLA, where 50 women in academia and private practice from all career stages heard from women leaders who facilitated conversations in topics most relevant to their personal and professional development. Lin Chang, MD, vice chief of the division, was a co-organizer and speaker. UCLA GI speakers also included Jihane N. Benhammou, MD, PhD, assistant clinical professor of medicine; Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, associate professor of medicine; and Suzanne R. Smith, MSN, NP, CMT-P, integrative health practitioner. Read full story (May 2024)


Balancing hope and reality: The promise and peril of blood-based colorectal cancer screening

Blood-based tests are important to expand options for patients and their physicians in colorectal cancer screening. But tests that both prevent and detect colorectal cancer early should continue to be the encouraged gold standard. After all, it’s better to prevent colorectal cancer before it occurs than catch it afterward, says Dr. Fola May. Read STAT News opinion article (April 2024)


Evolving CRC epidemiology offers challenges and opportunities

Over the past few decades, the demographics, location and stage of colorectal cancer at diagnosis have shifted, resulting in new patterns of disease presentation that clinicians should be aware of and that should prompt research to understand the risk factors driving this evolving epidemiology. At the 2023 annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, Dr. May gave a presentation on four major shifts in the epidemiology of colorectal cancer (CRC) and their implications. Read Gastroenterology & Hepatology News article (April 2024)


How to improve cancer screening among young adults

This year in the United States, an estimated 2 million people will receive a new cancer diagnosis, and a growing proportion will be younger adults and people of color. Many of these cases could be prevented — nearly 60 percent of colorectal cancers, for example, could be avoided with early detection. Dr. Fola May is trying to understand why cancer screening rates are lagging, and what we can do to get people these potentially lifesaving tests. Read The Commonwealth Fund article (April 2024)


Improving colorectal cancer screening options

Dr. Fola May laid out the need that prompted the April 8 session on emerging colorectal cancer screening tests at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2024 in San Diego. Read Cancer Today article (April 2024)


Colorectal cancer death rates climb for men and women under 50 and so dies the urgent need for early screening

In its 2024 Report on annual cancer rates and deaths, the American Cancer Society highlights that colorectal cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death for men younger than 50 and the second leading cause of cancer death for women under 50. 

Folasade May, MD, PhD, MPhil, UCLA Health cancer prevention researcher and gastroenterologist, and a member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, addressed the trend and what needs to happen to stop it. UCLA Health News & Insights (March 2024)


Know your risk: 10 things Blacks need to know about colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer remains a significant health concern, particularly for the Black community, which faces higher incidence rates and lower survival rates compared to the white population. According to a study, Black Americans are about 20 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer and 40 percent more likely to die from it than other groups. Despite these statistics, screening rates among Black Americans are historically lower, contributing to delayed detection and poorer outcomes. BlackDoctor.org (BDO) sat down with Dr. Folasade P. May, co-leader of the Stand Up To Cancer Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team, to discuss the latest data on colorectal cancer disparities, including the factors driving these trends and the importance of early detection. Read BDO article (March 2024)


VIDEO: 'We all need to be concerned' about consequences of inequity in health care

In a video exclusive, Healio’s Health Equity Award winner Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, discusses the importance of a collective, nationwide effort to recognize health care disparities and support disadvantaged populations. Watch Healio Gastroenterology video (March 2024)


Push to #PrioritizeCRC: Advocacy group rallies to expand colorectal cancer screening

Every March, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated to raise awareness of the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. This year, the Fight CRC advocacy group is pushing Congress to prioritize cancer screening policies. Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, emphasizes the importance of educating patients about colorectal cancer risk and screening all individuals at the “right age and at the right interval.” Read Healio Gastroenterology article (March 2024)


Princess Catherine’s global celebrity and acknowledgment of her cancer, experts said, could shine a light on a troubling rise in certain cancers among people under 50

“We need to focus on the messaging that young people need to be aware they are also at risk,” said Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, a cancer researcher at UCLA Health and a board member of the nonprofit Fight Colorectal Cancer. “It’s not only older people anymore,” she said. Experts point out that overall cancer mortality has dropped significantly in recent years, reflecting improved treatment and screening. But the progress against cancer has been uneven. In the United States, the rise in mortality from some cancers has contributed to a decade-long erosion in life expectancy driven primarily by chronic disease. The global incidence of cancers among younger people increased by nearly 80 percent between 1990 and 2019, according to a study published in BMJ Oncology. In the United States, one study by American Cancer Society researchers found that detections of six of 12 cancers related to obesity — including colorectal, uterine, gallbladder, kidney and pancreatic — jumped significantly in young adults between 1995 and 2014, with steeper rises in successively younger generations. Read The Washington Post article. (subscription required) (March 2024)


How a new stool test may help reduce colorectal cancer deaths

According to a new study published in The Lancet Oncology, a new stood test could offer improved detection of precursors to colorectal cancer. Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, provided expert commentary in this Medical News Today article (February 2024)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, interviewed by ABC News on the troubling increase in colon and breast cancer in younger adults

Death rates from cancer have declined by 33% since 1991, averting 4.1 million deaths. However, more people are being diagnosed with cancer than ever before, and at earlier ages, according to a major new report from the American Cancer Society. Especially concerning is the rising number of deaths of young people from colon cancer. Oncologists say that the colon cancer trends in the U.S. are matched by other high-income countries and say it's possible the increase could be due to lifestyles or environmental exposures for younger generations. Environmental factors, such as exposure to chemicals in foods and in the air, and other currently unidentified factors, such as the recent legalization of cannabis and increased cannabis use, can't be ruled out as risk factors. "There are studies that even show that risk factors like whether or not you were breastfed, whether or not you had antibiotics at a high rate as a child -- that these factors might be predicting your chances of getting cancer when you're an adult," said Dr. Fola May, gastroenterologist and researcher at UCLA Health. Read full story (January 2024)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, featured in Stand Up to Cancer healty equity research video

Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) is a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation that brings together celebrities and scientists to raise awareness and funds for groundbreaking cancer research. The 2023 telecast highlighted the importance of research to understand and address cancer care disparities. Dr. May, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; and Robert Winn, MD, VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center, helped develop and provided narration for a short, animated video explaining the importance of health equity research. The video was introduced by Jimmy Smits, actor and SU2C ambassador. (November 2023) Watch video


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, named Healio Disruptive Innovator - Health Equity Award

Healio presented their sixth annual Disruptive Innovators Awards at the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Annual Meeting on October 22. The awards recognized individuals who have changed the face of the specialty and pushed the status quo toward betterment of the field. Dr. May, associate professor of medicine, received the Health Equity Award, which recognizes a physician who has brought about meaningful change to overcome the social determinants of health in gastroenterology. (October 2023)


The UCLA Health Johnson Comprehensive Cancer Center colorectal cancer team provides expert, multidisciplinary, patient-centered care

In this video, you'll hear from three of those experts — colorectal surgeon Kevork Kazanjian, MD; director of UCLA Health's Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program, Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil; and radiation oncologist Ann Raldow, MD, PhD. (October 2023)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, discusses colorectal cancer prevention at Congressional Black Caucus

The Congressional Black Caucus meeting is an annual legislative meeting in Washington D.C. that brings together lawmakers, policy experts, and community leaders to discuss and address critical issues affecting African Americans and marginalized communities. During this gathering, attendees collaborate on legislative solutions and engage in dialogue to promote social and economic equity. Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was a speaker in “A Call to Action: Fighting Colorectal Cancer in the Black Community,” sponsored by Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ) and Congresswomen Nikema Williams (GA). (September 2023)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, named Cancer Health 25: Champions of Health Equity

Dr. May, director of the Melvin & Bren GI Quality Improvement Program, was named a Cancer Health 25: Champion of Health Equity. She is one of 25 individuals recognized by Cancer Health magazine for their work to ensure fair opportunities to prevent, treat and survive cancer. Full list of honorees (September 2023)


Dr. Fola May named Rising Star Southern California 2024

Selection of Super Doctors is a rigorous multi-step process designed to identify health care providers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Super Doctors is a selective yet diverse listing of outstanding doctors, representing consumer-oriented medical specialties. Rising Stars employs the same selection process as Super Doctors, recognizing physicians active and fully licensed to practice for approximately 10 years or fewer. (September 2023)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, published in Capitol Weekly Opinion

Long plagued by racism and discrimination, communities of color lag on many health care measures. Eliminating disparities requires increasing access to care and improving outcomes. Unfortunately, some insurance companies are erecting extraordinary barriers that will actually delay necessary treatment for patients — and exacerbate inequities. Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, authored Insurer tactics to delay care pushes health equity further away. Read Insurer tactics to delay care pushed health equity further away (August 2023)


How often should you poop? The answer may not be what you think

Everyone poops, but it turns out we don't all need to poop every day. Dr. Folasade P. May, associate professor of medicine, discusses what patterns are right for you, how to have a healthy poop, and what affects our bowel movements, in CNN Health How often should you poop? The answer may not be what you think. (July 2023)


Lisa Marie Presley died of complications from prior weight-loss surgery, autopsy report shows

A report by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner states Lisa Marie Presley's death in January was caused by a “sequelae of a small bowel obstruction.” Dr. Folasade P. May, associate professor of medicine, provided commentary along with Dr. Michael Camilleri at the Mayo Clinic. Read Lisa Marie Presley died of complications from prior weight-loss surgery, autopsy report shows in CNN Entertainment (July 2023)


Offering blood test ups colorectal cancer screening for people who first declined colonoscopy

Offering a blood test to people who have declined both a colonoscopy and a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) increased colorectal cancer (CRC) screening by 7.5% without decreasing use of the preferred first-line options, researchers report. However, the number of people in the study who subsequently underwent timely colonoscopy after a positive blood test did not increase, signaling a continuing challenge in CRC prevention and treatment. Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, provides expert commentary in this Medscape. (June 2023)


Best approach to colorectal cancer screening for young adults: Mail FIT kits

A study of more than 20,000 average-risk adults has shed some light on the best way to offer colorectal cancer screening to 45-to-49-year-olds—an age group that is new to the screening guidelines. The randomized study was a late-breaking abstract at Digestive Disease Week 2023 and evaluated four screening approaches and found that screening completion was highest among adults who were mailed an unsolicited fecal immunochemical test. UCLA GI authors included Artin Galoosian, MD, MA, former GI quality scholar; Sadie De Silva, MD, former GI quality scholar; and Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Bren and Melvin Simon GI Quality Improvement Program. Read the Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News article (June 2023)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, receives 2023 Productivity Award

Dr. May, associate professor of medicine, was awarded the Productivity Award during VA Research Week for her more than 30 papers published in one year. The award was presented by Michael Ong, MD, PhD, associate chief of staff for research and development at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. (May 2023)


These "GutTok" health trends could actually harm you, according to experts

Social media is awash with dubious medical content, including celebrities and influencers extolling everything from the virtues of parasite cleanses to combat gut exposure to mold to a steady diet of bone broth and intermittent fasting, to taking apple cider vinegar supplements to kickstart your metabolism. A big part of the problem from Dr. May's vantage is that the content that rises to the top is based on algorithms that prioritize outrage, shock and awe. Read Don't let TikTok scare you about your gut health by Scary Mommy. Dr. May is associate professor of medicine. (May 2023)


You need to know these signs of colon cancer in younger adults

Colon cancer is a scourge, and as you know, early detection is a subject very close to Katie's (Katie Couric Media) heart. Increasingly, younger patients are being diagnosed. While some cases can be explained due to genetics and family history, NBC News notes that an incredible 75% of cases of colon cancer in younger people are categorized as having an “unknown cause.” According to Dr. Folasade P. May, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California who spoke to NBC News, this indicates that environmental factors shared by this age group are driving the increase — what's known as the “birth cohort effect.” These could include anything from stress to exposure to pollutants, but the jury's still out on what they are. Read article (May 2023)


'Stunning' change to United's colonoscopy coverage roils physicians and patients

When gastroenterologists learned in March that UnitedHealthcare plans to barricade many colonoscopies behind a controversial and complicated process known as prior authorization, their emotions cycled rapidly between fear, shock, and outrage. The change, which the health insurer will implement on June 1, means that any United member seeking surveillance and diagnostic colonoscopies to detect cancer will first need approval from United — or else have to pay out of pocket. “People with concerning symptoms for cancer, suddenly they may have to wait potentially weeks or months or longer for this to get approved,” said Dr. Folasade P. May, a gastroenterologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It may not even get approved.” Read full STAT article (May 2023)


Shifting trends in CRC demographics, severity prove you are 'not too young to have cancer'

Despite a decline in the overall incidence of colorectal cancer in the U.S., recent population-based data from the American Cancer Society show an alarming shift to younger age and more advanced disease at diagnosis. While the answer is largely unknown to the question of why trends in incidence rates, disease severity and tumor location have shifted over time, Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, associate professor of medicine and director of the Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, hypothesized that environmental factors may play the largest role. “We know it is environmental and not genetic because it happened too fast,” she said. “We [the research community] think it is probably a combination of what we are putting in our bodies and potentially the way we live our life in high-income countries. There are also data to support the role of diet, obesity and diabetes as well as environmental toxins and plastics.” Read full Helio article (May 2023)


Cancer patients face grave financial barriers to care: 'There is this dramatic loss of income'

For many cancer patients, access to quality care and education is out of reach. The financial barriers—and fear of seeking help because of them—can keep people away from the care they need. One study found even after treatment, nearly 50% of cancer survivors faced medical debt associated with their care, with the vast majority unsure how they will afford future care. In addition, There is also a need to address psychological barriers delaying screenings and, therefore, cancer treatments owing to stigma. Colon cancer is one prime example, said Dr. Folasade P. May, associate professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Read full Fortune Well article (May 2023)


Colorectal cancer screening for 'vulnerable' patients higher in Medicaid expansion states

“Federally qualified health centers are a relatively new place for people to get primary care, since the Affordable Care Act started funding them in 2012,” Megan R. McLeod, MD, MSc, from the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, told Healio. “This is a population that traditionally has been medically underserved, and while the government and other groups monitor different quality measures, patterns in colorectal cancer screening are fairly understudied in this setting.” Read more (May 2023)


The May Lab was strongly represented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2023

DDW was held May 5-9 in Chicago, IL and the UCLA May Lab represented with 6 abstract lectures, 3 invited talks, and 10 poster presentations. Matthew Zhao (DGSOM MS4) received an AGA Abstract Award for Health Disparities Research. Artin Galoosian, MD, MS, (prior QI fellow; current Loma Linda GI fellow) had the honor of presenting 1 of only 6 abstracts selected out of 145 submitted for the late-breaking abstract session. His abstract titled, Comparison of Four Population Health Interventions to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening in Young Adults: Results of a Randomized Trial, was well-received and was covered in multiple media outlets. Media also highlighted presentations by Megan McLeod, MD, MSCR, (IM resident). Additional attendees and presenters were Jamie O. Yang, MD, (IM resident), Jessica Tuan, MPH (Center for Health Equity), Camille Soroudi, MD (GI fellow), Yvonne Lei (DGSOM MS4), Olivia Jordan, MD, (IM resident), Shailavi Jain, MD, (IM resident), Sadie De Silva, MD, (QI fellow), and Aileen Bui, MD, (GI fellow). Statistical support was provided by Jayraan Badiee, MPH, and Sitaram Vangala, and the lab would also like to acknowledge collaborators at UCLA Medical Imaging and Informatics, UCLA Population Health, VA Department of Medicine, and the North East Valley Health Corporation. Work presented at the conference is supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Stand up to Cancer, Broad Ablon Scholar Program, and Melvin and Bren Simon. Full abstracts can be found here. (May 2023)


Americans are waiting too late to screen for colorectal cancer

In an interview with The Healthy, Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, said Americans are waiting too late to screen for colorectal cancer – here's when you should start. “The tragic news is that only about one in three cases are caught in the early stage, and it doesn't have to be that way,” says Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program. "The screenings are highly accurate—but they can't work if you don't get them.” (April 2023)


Fola May, MD, MPhil, PhD, presents at White House Cancer Moonshot Colorectal Cancer Forum

This Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Fola May, MD, MPhil, PhD, associate professor in the division of digestive diseases and associate director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity joined other national health experts at the White House for the Cancer Moonshot Colorectal Cancer Forum. Dr. May was an invited member for a panel at this event to discuss equitable access to high-quality cancer care and the need to invest in research to enable us to determine how to deliver the best care and perform effective outreach to underserved communities. Dr. May shared with the audience that we cannot find solutions if we do not have the metrics that allow us to ensure that all communities are being accounted for when performing research. She advised that we must continue outreach efforts that promote early screening through patient navigation, and partnerships with community leaders and stakeholders who will help raise awareness. The goal of the forum is to inform national policy on cancer prevention and cancer screening as part of the Biden Cancer Moonshot. Watch White House panel (March 2023)


More young people are being diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. Why?

Colorectal cancer rates in younger people have surged in recent years. More troubling, most cases diagnosed are at an advanced stage and researchers aren't sure what's causing the cancers. According to new statistics from the American Cancer Society, the proportion of colorectal cancer that occurred in people under age 55 doubled between 1995 and 2019, from 11% to 20%. That means that, of the roughly 1.3 million people in the U.S. living with colorectal cancer in the United States in 2019, about 273,800 were younger than age 55. “This cancer type is particularly asymptomatic and can remain that way for a long time," said Dr. Folasade P. May, an associate professor of medicine in the University of California, Los Angeles Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases. "So the tumor can grow and grow and even spread before there are symptoms that prompt someone to seek medical attention.” Read NBC News article (March 2023)


UCLA Health promotes colorectal cancer screening at inflatable colon event

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and UCLA Health is pulling out all the stops to convince people to get screened. KCBS/KCAL interviews Dr. Folasade P. May, at the UCLA Health inflatable colon event to promote screening for colorectal cancer. (March 2023)


At-home stool tests for colorectal cancer screening are rising in popularity, but are they right for you?

At-home stool tests can be an easier way to screen for colorectal cancer than a dreaded colonoscopy. As the rates of the cancer continue to rise in younger people, home tests might help improve detection and get people treated sooner.

March marks the beginning of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed and third most common cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. Diagnosis of the disease is on the rise among younger people under age 55, according to a new study from the ACS, and it's being diagnosed at more advanced stages. Dr. Folasade P. May, a gastroenterologist, health equity expert, and health services researcher at the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity and the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, was interviewed by ABC News on how to know if this is a good option for you. (March 2023)


Establishing and implementing comprehensive at-home stool-based colorectal cancer screenings in medically underserved communities around the country, including Los Angeles

Dr. Folasade P. May is an associate professor of medicine and a researcher in the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. May is also a co-leader of Stand Up To Cancer's Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team, which is establishing and implementing comprehensive at-home stool-based colorectal cancer screenings in medically underserved communities around the country, including Los Angeles. Listen to KOST 103.5FM podcast and read interview (March 2023)


UCLA Health walks community through risks, symptoms of colorectal cancer

UCLA Health assembled a giant inflatable colon March 3 to engage and inform patients, Bruins and the local Westwood community on colon cancer in recognition of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Read more in the Daily Bruin (March 2023)


The wild world inside your gut

Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was interviewed for a New York Times article — The Wild World Inside Your Gut — in which gastrointestinal health experts answered common question about GI health. Dr. May commented on dietary and colonoscopy recommendations and on when GI symptoms or abnormal bowel movements indicate that you should seek medical help.(February 2023)


Seriously, though - When do I really need to get a colonoscopy?

Great question! Dr. Folasade P. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, provides the answers in a Scary Mommy interview. (December 2022)


Living with late-stage colorectal cancer: Advice for patients and their caregivers

An estimated 50-60% of Black people don't get screened for colorectal cancer at all, either because they put it off or have competing medical illnesses to address, says Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program. Read Living with Late-Stage Colorectal Cancer: Advice for Patients and Their Caregivers in Black Health Matters. (December 2022)


Early detection is essential to surviving the "silent killer"
Actress Kirstie Alley died this month at age 71, reportedly after a short battle with colon cancer. Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was interviewed by Jim Moret on Inside Edition and discussed the warning signs of colorectal cancer, rising rates in young adults and the importance of screening. Watch interview (December 2022)


Five reasons you're pooping more than usual
Was it that big holiday meal, or something else? Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, provides expert commentary in The Healthy on why you're experiencing frequent bowel movements and when to seek medical help.


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, receives Fierce Healthcare's 2022 Women of Influence Award
Fierce Healthcare honored 10 women who are making a difference in pushing health care to the future. This year's honorees cover the breadth of the industry, from providers to payers to health tech, and represent some of the industry's largest companies as well as up-and-coming innovators. Each has been pivotal in helping their organizations — and their patients — navigate some of the most complicated years that we've ever faced. Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was recognized for her research to improve prevention of colon cancer. (November 2022)


Study questioning colonoscopy screening's benefits stirs controversy: Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, comments in STAT News
Voicing her reactions to a New England Journal of Medicine publication of interim trial results that cast doubt on accepted views of colonoscopy's efficacy, Dr. May of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, told STAT News, "I have patients texting and calling me and saying, 'should I come in for that colonoscopy on Thursday?' That's a devastating result of this publication. The reality is that every day, there are people with polyps and cancer growing because colorectal cancer is so asymptomatic and it'll grow for years. You will never know. Hopefully we get the message through that colorectal screening saves lives.” (October 2022)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, recognized at Dodger Healthcare Appreciation Night
Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was among six UCLA Health physicians honored on the field at Dodger stadium during Dodger Healthcare Appreciation Night. Other UCLA physicians included Drs. Tamara Horwich, cardiology; Sarah Larson, oncology; May Nour, neurology; Marissa Vasquez Machuca, sports medicine; and Karol Watson, cardiology. (October 2022)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, selected as Rising Star of Southern California
Super Doctors are selected in a rigorous, multi-step process designed to identify health care providers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process for Rising Stars is the same as for Super Doctors, except to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars candidates must be active and fully-licensed to practice for approximately 10 years or less. While approximately 5% of the doctors within the respective state or region are named to Super Doctors, no more than 2.5% are named to the Rising Stars list. Full lists (September 2022)


For months, a new mom was told her stage 4 colon cancer symptoms were in her head
Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin & Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program added expert commentary on the rise of colorectal cancer in young people in an article published in Today. Full article (September 2022)


Addressing barriers that make Black Americans more vulnerable to colorectal cancer
“We can't eliminate disparities until we acknowledge the social barriers and provide support, better insurance, and improved access,” says Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin & Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program. Dr. May explains the factors fueling the disparities in care for Black Americans and shares how this became her mission in this Everyday Health article. (September 2022)


Stand Up To Cancer's® (SU2C) Colorectal Cancer Equity Dream Team wins LA Business Journal's Health Care Leadership Award
UCLA Health was named a key partner and major grant recipient in an initiative launched by Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C). The initiative aims to improve colorectal cancer screening rates in underserved populations nationwide. Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin & Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, serves as co-leader of the new Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team, which received an $8 million grant in 2021. This collaborative effort with Exact Sciences, Providence St. John's and UCLA Health won the outstanding collaboration category in the Los Angeles Business Journal's Health Care Leadership Awards. (August 2022)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, awarded $2 million NIH R01 grant
Dr. May and a multidisciplinary UCLA team that includes informatics, health services, pathology and health economics have been awarded an NIH grant to evaluate a multilevel health system intervention to increase guideline-concordant surveillance colonoscopy for UCLA Health patients with high-risk colorectal polyps. The intervention uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to identify the patients at highest risk for developing colorectal cancer, and intervention components directed at the patients, their doctors and the UCLA Health electronic health record to ensure timely surveillance colonoscopy. Dr. May is director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, associate director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity in the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and assistant director of the UCLA Specialty Training and Advanced Research Program. (July 2022)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, quoted in EveryDay Health on health disparities
Black Americans have a 20 percent higher incidence of colorectal cancer than white Americans and are 40 percent more likely to die of it, according to the American Cancer Society. Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, discussed barriers to colorectal cancer screening among Black Americans and understanding this discomfort and mistrust. EveryDay Health also interviewed Gloria Riley, a UCLA African-American patient who had a cancerous polyp removed after her screening colonoscopy. (May 2022)


Heart Behind the White Coat: Diverse Health Hub interviews Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil
Dr. May shares how her upbringing influenced her medical career choice on Heart Behind the White Coat (HBWC). Watch as Dr. May explains how her experiences observing medical missions had an impact in her decision to pursue a career in medicine, places where she connects with patients, and her advice for BIPOC students considering the study of medicine. Dr. May is the director of the Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program and assistant professor of medicine. (April 2022)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, awarded 2022 AGA Distinguished Service Award in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) honored Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, with this year's Distinguished Service Award in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This award honors members who have promoted diversity, equity and inclusion within AGA and the broader gastroenterology community. Dr. May has a strong track record of health equity research in gastroenterology and hepatology and has made significant contributions to AGA and the broader community through advocacy, mentorship and public service. Dr. May is frequently called upon to discuss health disparities in the media and has also spoken to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) on AGA's behalf on strategies for combating disparities. Her early-career research focus on Black-White disparities in colorectal cancer resulted in several manuscripts that characterized patient, provider, system and health-policy barriers to participation in screening among Black individuals. This work led to the development, implementation and evaluation of interventions in the Veterans Health Administration and in underserved communities to improve colorectal cancer screening rates and colonoscopic follow-up after abnormal stool-based screening. Dr. May has been actively involved in AGA since her gastroenterology fellowship and, most notably, was selected for both of AGA's prestigious leadership development programs: the AGA Future Leaders Program and AGA FORWARD Program. Dr. May is a board member and co-founder of the Association of Black Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists (ABGH). As the associate director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity, Dr. May continues to address colorectal cancer inequities throughout the U.S. She will be honored at the 2022 Digestive Disease Week®. (March 2022) Read more


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, discussed colorectal cancer on Black News Channel
Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was interviewed by Tashanea Whitlow, anchor, Black News Channel. Dr. May discusses colorectal cancer risk and prevention among Black Americans, factors leading to low screening participation among Black individuals and ways we can reduce the burden of this largely preventable disease. (March 2022)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, discussed colorectal cancer on Black News Channel
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Dr. May joined Dr. John Torres, medical correspondent on NBC News Facebook Live to talk about updated colorectal cancer screening recommendations, risk factors, the increase in colorectal cancer in younger people and screening options. Dr. May is the director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program. (March 2022)


UCLA Health helps lead new $8M initiative to improve colorectal cancer screening rates nationwide
UCLA Health has been named a key partner and major grant recipient in an innovative national initiative launched by Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C), Exact Sciences and Providence Saint John's Health Center, aimed at addressing healthcare disparities in colorectal cancer care and prevention.

The new Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team will receive $8 million – $6 million from Exact Sciences and $2 million from Providence Saint John's Health Center -- for an innovative and comprehensive approach that will bring together leading researchers, patient advocates, community leaders, and clinicians to accomplish several goals, including improving colorectal cancer screening in medically underserved communities in three ‘SU2C Zones':  Los Angeles, Greater Boston, and Great Plains Tribal Communities in South Dakota.
 
As one of the three “Dream Team” partners, UCLA Health will help lead a three-year robust screening, outreach, and training effort in community health clinics in the Los Angeles area, which has a particularly low screening rate for colorectal cancer, the second most common cause of cancer-related death in American men and women combined.
 
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic drop in participation in colorectal cancer screening,” said Folasade May, MD, PhD, MPhil, a gastroenterologist, health equity expert, and health services researcher at the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity and the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Many individuals have delayed essential medical care like cancer screening, especially in racially diverse and low-income communities where cancer outcomes are the direst. Our goal is to make sure that everyone, regardless of background, gets screened for colorectal cancer.”

Dr. May, who is a national Dream Team co-leader, is committed to empowering healthcare providers who serve Los Angeles and other participating communities by providing tools, strategies, and innovative community engagement approaches that will effectively address screening disparities.

Community partners in the Los Angeles area include several local health centers, including four St. John's Well Child and Family Center health centers: W.M. Keck Foundation Health Center in South Los Angeles, Dominguez Health Center in Compton, Magnolia Place Health Center in East Los Angeles, and S. Mark Taper Foundation Health Center in East Los Angeles. Screening participants will also be sought from faith-based congregations in Baldwin Village and from community health centers in Santa Monica who frequently partner with Providence Saint John's Health Center in community health initiatives.

The national Dream Team's wide-ranging goals include: establishing and implementing comprehensive at-home stool-based colorectal cancer screening programs at community health centers to increase screening rates to 80% within the SU2C Zones; ensuring patients who have an abnormal stool-based screening test result receive a follow-up colonoscopy; building a biorepository of blood and stool samples for future research to ensure that low income and racial/ethnic minority populations are represented in the development of new screening tests and early detection methods for colorectal cancer; and fostering the careers of a new generation of Black, Latino, and American Indian doctors and researchers who embody the ideals of community engagement, trust-building and disparities research to improve health outcomes for all patients.

“Our Dream Team integrates the traditionally fragmented fields of health disparities research and healthcare. Integrating social science and health equity with clinical translational research will help us achieve our goals and create systems that can be utilized as models long after our grant period is over,” said Dr. May.
 
SU2C plans to expand its existing Health Equity Initiative and will also launch the creation of multiple SU2C Zones, which they hope to extend to other communities and cancer types in the future.

Colorectal cancer incidence and deaths are highest in Black Americans, followed by American Indians/Alaska Natives and are lowest in Asians/Pacific Islanders[i]. People with the lowest socioeconomic status are 40% more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer than those with the highest socioeconomic status. Additionally, screening rates for Americans 50-75 years old are the lowest in American Indians/Alaska Natives (56%), followed by Asian individuals (58%), Latino/Hispanic individuals (59%), Black individuals (66%) and white individuals (69%).

In addition to Dr. May, the multi-disciplinary team includes Jennifer Haas, MD, MSc, at Massachusetts General Hospital and  Anton Bilchik, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS, at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Los Angeles. Additional team members are from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board, and Fight Colorectal Cancer. (2021)


Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States - Here are the top signs and symptoms to look out for
Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director, Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program and assistant professor of medicine and member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses in Parade magazine the prevalence of colon cancer in the U.S. and the top signs and symptoms to look out for in colon cancer. (2021)


Fola May, MD, PhD, MPhil, 80% Blog Interview with the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT)
On March 1, UCLA Health became the grand prize recipient of the NCCRT 2021 80% in Every Community Awards, a program designed to recognize individuals and organizations who are dedicating their time, talent and expertise to advancing initiatives that support the shared goal of achieving colorectal cancer screening rates of 80 percent and higher. Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was interviewed in a recent NCCRT blog on UCLA Health's multifaceted approach to increasing colorectal cancer screenings despite COVID-19. (2021)


Exploiting marginalized groups for research
STAT News interviewed Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the GI Quality Program, member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and researcher at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research (CPCR), on a study that is sparking outrage over the unusually high number of Black patients it enrolled. (2021)


How to nudge people into getting tested for the coronavirus
New York Times interviewed Fola May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the GI Quality Program, member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and researcher at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research (CPCR), on the impact of a false negative COVID-19 test in the workplace. Yahoo! News syndicated the New York Times article. (2021)


What a delay in colorectal cancer screening can mean and who should be most concerned
Good Morning America interviewed Fola May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the GI Quality Program, member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and researcher at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research (CPCR), on lack of consistent colorectal cancer screenings for lower-income communities and BIPOC communities. ABC News syndicated the Good Morning America story. (2021)


Radio interview: Pausing the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
KCBS-AM interviewed Fola May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the GI Quality Program, member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and researcher at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research (CPCR), on pausing the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. (2021)


From rotten teeth to advanced cancer, patients feel the effects of treatment delays during pandemic
Kaiser Health NewsWashington PostSeattle Times, California Healthline and Medical Express interviewed Dr. May on the drop in colonoscopy patient visits during the pandemic. Yellowstone Public Radio and Post Register also covered the story. (2021)


Radio interview: Vaccine acceptance in BIPOC communities
KCBS-AM interviewed Fola May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the GI Quality Program, member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and researcher at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research (CPCR), on vaccine acceptance in BIPOC communities. (2021)


Fola P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, is a founding member of the Association of Black Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists (ABGH)
On February 26, 2021, the Association of Black Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists (ABGH) was launched. Founded by a group of 11 physician co-founders and board members, ABGH is a non-profit organization created to improve the disproportionately negative digestive health outcomes in Black communities, foster physician networking, develop the next generation of trainees and promote scholarship. For more information about the ABGH mission, its values, and how to get involved and support their efforts, please visit blackingastro.org or follow the hashtag #blackingastro. (2021)


Let's go there: A conversation about colorectal cancer with Cottonelle®, Deon Cole and BLKHLTH
Cottonelle® Brand hosted a candid round table discussion about colorectal cancer, health inequity, prevention, and stigmas within the Black community. Actor and comedian, Deon Cole led the discussion with health equity researcher at UCLA Health, Dr. Fola May and co-founder and president of BLKHLTH, Matthew McCurdy. Listen to conversation (2021)


Interview with Black News Channel (BNC) Morning Show
Fola May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of GI quality for the UCLA Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, discusses the importance of colorectal cancer screening, especially for members of the Black community. In this interview with Mike Hill and Sharon Reed of the Black News Channel (BNC) morning show on March 25th, Dr. May explains that colorectal cancer disproportionally affects African Americans, due at least in part to social determinants of health and to differences in health care access and quality. Dr. May and the two hosts also discussed the galvanizing effect that Chadwick Boseman's untimely death due to colorectal cancer was having on the Black community. Watch interview (2021)


ReachMD interview with Dr. Neil Nandi
Racial and ethnic bias prevent patients with colorectal cancer from receiving the highest quality of care. Dr. Neil Nandi is joined by Dr. Fola May, assistant professor of medicine at UCLA, to discuss racial inequities in access to care and screening for patients with colorectal cancer. (2021)


Abnormal stool test result? Don't delay your colonoscopy - U.S. News
Getting a colonoscopy as soon as possible after an abnormal stool test could reduce your risk of colon cancer and death from the disease, researchers say. In a new study, investigators analyzed data from more than 200,000 U.S. veterans, aged 50 to 75, who had an abnormal fecal immunochemical test (FIT) or fecal occult blood test (FOBT). Full story (2021)


Change requires visibility, action and trust
Healio interviewed Daniel Greenwald, MD, medical oncologist and hematologist at Santa Barbara Cancer Care, and Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, research collaborator at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research and member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, on ways to combat health disparities experienced by Black communities. (2021)


California's latest COVID vaccine shakeup: Will it improve equity in the Bay area?
The San Jose Mercury News interviewed Fola P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, research collaborator at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research and member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, on targeting underserved communities for vaccine distribution in California. East Bay Times syndicated the report. (2021)


Fola P. May, MD, PhD, appointed to the expert advisory board of Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program and health services researcher in the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, was recently appointed to the expert advisory board of Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology for a two-year term. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology has been in circulation since 2004 and received a 2019 Impact Factor of 29.848. As a member of the advisory board, Dr. May will serve as a champion for the journal within the medical and scientific communities, provide expert opinions, and contribute journal content ideas. (2021)


Fola P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, quoted on concerns over low vaccination rates and disproportionate deaths in black and brown communities
CNN quoted Dr. May, research collaborator at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research and member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a story about disparities in vaccination rates between whites and BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) communities. Dr. May spoke about the vaccination disparity between these groups among health care workers. NBC News interviewed Dr. May on concerns over low vaccination rates and disproportionate deaths in BIPOC communities. ForbesAxiosYahoo! News and The Grio syndicated the NBC News story. Dr. May also commented on the same topic in a Scientific American story. PBS Newshour and Huffington Post syndicated the Scientific American story. Politico also interviewed Dr. May on the concern that patients not connected to a health system may lack the ability to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. (2021)


Colorectal cancer screenings at home – Stool-based tests could increase access to colorectal cancer screening
Cancer Today interviewed Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, research collaborator at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research and member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, on the noninvasive options available for colorectal cancer screening. (2021)


Fola May, MD, PhD, MPhil, selected Los Angeles' Top Doctors by Los Angeles Business Journal
Each year, Los Angeles Business Journal selects outstanding medical professionals from almost 20 specialties based on their good standing, reputation, thought leadership and success. This year, Dr. May was among the UCLA Health physicians who were honored as being Los Angeles' Top Doctors. (2021)


Will the COVID-19 pandemic help end systemic racism?
Dr. Fola May has focused her career on health inequity research. Now, the coinciding COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests have highlighted pre-existing racial disparities and thrown her research into the spotlight. Article in BioTechniques (2020)


Fola P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, announced board member of Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC)
Dr. May, director of the Melvin & Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was first involved with Fight CRC as a Medical Advisory Committee member. In 2020, she was asked to become one of the charter members of the Health Equity Committee, a team formed to help shape Fight CRC's diversity and inclusion culture and better engage employees, survivors, patients and caregivers, and was then appointed a Fight CRC board member. Fight CRC is the leading patient-empowerment and advocacy organization in the United States, providing balanced and objective information on colon and rectal cancer research, treatment and policy. They are champions of hope, focused on funding promising, high-impact research endeavors while equipping advocates to influence legislation and policy for the collective good. (2020)


Fola P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, discusses critical need for Federal funding to support scientific research
In partnership with the American Gastroenterology Association, Dr. May, director of the Melvin & Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, participated in a congressional briefing to explain how increased funding could help curtail the loss of scientists in academic medicine. Lack of robust and sustainable funding has been one of the primary causes for many to leave the field. Watch on YouTube


Dr. Fola May was interviewed by ABC and BBC and wrote an opinion piece for CNN on how Chadwick Boseman's death shed a much needed light on colorectal cancer
The passing of Chadwick Boseman at the age of 43 sent shock waves through not just the Black community, but the entire world. Dr. May was interviewed on the importance of early detection and healthcare disparities that impact colorectal cancer detection and treatment.

CNN opinion piece - Chadwick Boseman's death she a much needed light on colorectal cancer  |  ABC 20/20 News Special “Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute for a King:" Colon cancer and its impact on BIPOC communities |  Dr. May More - Sree's Sunday #NYTReadalong, WITN-TVKNX Radio, and BBC World Service Radio, which was syndicated by NPR stations across the U.S. (2020)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, Recognized as One of "100 in 100" Trailblazing Women at UCLA Health and DGSOM
UCLA marked Women's Equality Day by highlighting some of the trailblazing women at UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine who are making a difference in our world. Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Program, was recognized as a national expert in cancer prevention research and a champion for health equity. She was recognized for her passion in improving awareness about health disparities and her involvement in advocacy at the state and national level to develop and encourage policy to improve health care delivery. (2020)

More information on UCLA's “100 in 100” women.


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, Receives 2020-21 Ablon Scholars Award
On behalf of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and the Broad Stem Cell Research Center (BSCRC), Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was selected to receive a JCCC–BSCRC Ablon Scholars Award. The JCCC–BSCRC Ablon Scholars Program is generously funded by the Wendy Ablon Trust. The physician-scientists and other researchers who are selected as Ablon Scholars will expand our understanding of stem cells and help shape future stem-cell-based treatments with an emphasis on cancer and neurological disorders. Dr. May will receive $100,000 per year, for up to three years, to support direct research costs related to population medicine in cancer. (2020)


‘White Coats for Black Lives' is a Lifetime Commitment for Dr. Fola May
Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was featured in a  UCLA Health blog that chronicles her career devoted to addressing racial disparities in health care. Dr. May traces her passion for helping those with little access to health care to trips she made when she was young to Sub-Saharan Africa. She accompanied her father, a surgeon who had originally moved from Nigeria to the U.S. to attend college. On these missions, she helped transport patients, deliver supplies and eventually observe surgeries.

Having long studied race and health care disparities, Dr. May feels that COVID-19 has amplified those differences in care. She recently contributed to a paper published in the journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy looking at how the pandemic has impacted colon cancer disparities as health clinics serving low-income patients and people of color have been required to cancel colonoscopies to preserve resources and prevent coronavirus transmission. Another recent publication, in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, discusses how COVID-19 has exploited baseline disadvantages in health. (2020)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, Published in Nature on COVID-19 Health Inequities and in Healio on How Academic Medicine Can Respond to Racial Injustice in America
Dr. May, director of the Melvin & Bren Simon GI Quality Program, collaborated with colleagues at several other instutions to publish a comment inNature titled COVID-19 and the Other Pandemic: Populations Made Vulnerable by Systemic Inequity. The comment examines the perpetuation of systemic inequity through social determinants of health during COVID-19.

Healio published Dr. May's perspective From Words to Actions to Change: How Medicine, Academia Can Respond to Racial Injustice in America. This piece discusses how we can transition from discussions about race and racism in academia to action that addresses systemic racism. (June 2020)


Public Campaign, System Level Changes Aim to Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates
The UCLA Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases and the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA are spearheading an ambitious initiative throughout the UCLA Health system to improve the rates of colorectal cancer screening. The two-pronged effort includes a public-facing campaign to raise awareness among UCLA Health patients and employees of the importance of being screened, as well as a system-level quality improvement initiative aimed at providers and staff. It has already yielded positive results — UCLA Health saw a 6.1% increase in screening rates between July 2018 and July 2019 — along with national acclaim from the American College of Gastroenterology, which recently honored the UCLA Health team with four 2019 SCOPY awards in recognition of its community engagement, education and awareness efforts for colorectal cancer prevention. The UCLA Health Colorectal Cancer Screening Campaign also received a Gold Award for Best Integrated Campaign from the eHealthcare Leadership Awards, which recognizes the best websites and digital communications of health care organizations. Continue to full article (December 2019)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, Receives Greatest Idea Challenge Award / UCLA Innovation Challenge in the Amount of $100,000 for Personalized Cancer Screening
UCLA Health has completed its first Innovation Challenge. More than 300 submissions were received across five categories, and 37 peer-reviewed projects were selected for awards that ranged from gift cards and iPads to grants and seed funding of up to $150,000. Dr. Fola May was the principle investigator on the personalized cancer screening project. The proposed project is the first step in a multi-specialty collaborative effort to improve health outcomes for one of the most common and deadly malignancies in the U.S. through personalized cancer screening and surveillance. The project will reduce the impact of colorectal cancer at UCLA Health by using medical informatics and deep learning tools to automate the identification, evaluation and follow-up of patients at high risk for colon and rectal cancer. Co-investigators include Roshan Bastani, PhD, director, Cancer Prevention and Control, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center; Alex Bui, PhD, director, UCLA Medical Imaging Informatics; Bita Naini, MD, Department of Pathology and Yuna Kang, MD, Department of Pathology. View full list of winners (October 2019)


JAMA Teachable Moment with Anthony Myint, MD, and Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil  - Getting Colorectal Cancer Screening Right
The Teachable Moment series in JAMA Internal Medicine highlights narratives describing cases of inappropriate care that resulted in harm or in which harm was narrowly avoided. In August, Drs. Anthony Myint (GI quality fellow), Elizabeth Aby (internal medicine) and Fola May wrote the Teachable Moment piece describing challenges faced by clinicians in getting patients to engage in colorectal cancer screening and strategies that clinicians can use to maximize patient adherence to colorectal cancer screening recommendations. (September 2019)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, Receives NIH-NCI National Cancer Institute Grant
Dr. May received a R03 award from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. The study is titled, "Follow-up of Abnormal Findings on Colorectal Cancer Screening in a Federally Qualified Health Center: The Role of System-Level Clinical Care Processes" and will investigate barriers and facilitators to colonoscopy after positive fecal immunochemical testing among low-income individuals that seek care at The Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC), one of the largest FQHCs in the nation. The work will inform the development of effective interventions to achieve meaningful improvement in the quality of colorectal cancer care for our most vulnerable populations. (2019)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, Selected by AGA to Promote Diversity
Dr. May was selected as a 2019-2020 scholar by the American Gastroenterological Association for its new program to help promote diversity in the field of gastroenterology. The FORWARD Program (Fostering Opportunities Resulting in Workforce and Research Diversity) is a new initiative funded by the National Institute of Health to develop the leadership and research skills of the scholar physician-scientist. (2019)


Homeless Veterans with HCV Diagnosed, Treated via PCP Outreach
Healio reported on UCLA research presented at DDW 2018 on a project to provide hepatitis C treatment to homeless Veterans. Omar Bakr, MD, is a resident in the UCLA IM training program and part of the May Laboratory team. (2018)


Division-Led Team Honored for Video on Colon Cancer Screening
Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, physician and health services researcher, and her team were honored in October at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) for its video designed to promote colorectal cancer screening. The UCLA group won first place in the Best Video by an Academic Center category at ACG's third annual SCOPY Awards (Service Award for Colorectal Cancer Outreach, Prevention & Year-Round Excellence), which recognizes the achievements of ACG members in their community engagement, education and awareness efforts for colorectal cancer prevention. ACG members are invited to submit examples of projects and programs that demonstrate outstanding creativity and commitment to spreading the potentially lifesaving message of the importance of colorectal cancer screening and prevention. “It's a great honor to be recognized by the American College of Gastroenterology for our team's effort to increase awareness about colorectal cancer, and to emphasize that screening is an easy way to save lives,” Dr. May says. In addition to Dr. May, the team that created the video includes Drs. Dean Ehrlich, Shelley Schwartz, and Nasim Assar and Anna Dermenchyan, RN, all from the UCLA Department of Medicine. (2018)

Watch the 2018 SCOPY award video


Colorectal Cancer Screenings Higher in Veterans Who Use VA or Military Health Care
VA Research Currents, research news from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, highlighted a study by a team with VA, UCLA and Duke, showing veterans with health coverage related to their veteran status were more likely to have up-to-date screenings for colorectal cancer than vets who used private health insurance instead. Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, assistant professor-in-residence of medicine at the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, lead author on the article, applauds VA's efforts to raise screening levels: "Colorectal cancer is common and deadly. But we can prevent disease by screening. The VA has had major success in this area and should be recognized for exceeding national benchmarks in colorectal screening." (2017)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil Receives Seed Grant to Help Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities
Dr. May, assistant professor of medicine in the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases and co-director of the Gloabal Health Education Program for the UCLA Center for World Health, received the "CDU- UCLA Cancer Center Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities Seed Grant" from Charles Drew University. The project is a partnership with the “To Help Everyone Wellness Centers” in South Los Angeles and aims to investigate the specific patient-, provider-, and system-level barriers to completion of follow-up colonoscopy after a stool-based colorectal cancer screening test is positive. (2017)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, Selected as AGA Future Leaders Program Class of 2018
The American Gastroenterology Association (AGA) relies heavily on the engagement and expertise of volunteer leaders for the development of strategic initiatives and the execution of programs. As such, there is a need to ensure a healthy pipeline of future leaders. The Future Leaders Program provides a pathway within the organization for selected participants to network, connect with mentors, develop leadership skills and learn about AGA's governance and operations while advancing their careers and supporting the profession. Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, was one the 18 future leaders selected. This is an impressive achievement as this selection is highly competitive. (2017)


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, Awarded UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Seed Grant
Dr. May, assistant professor of medicine in the division of digestive diseases, was awarded the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Seed Grant which will help fund the project "A Community-Academic Partnership to Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening in South Los Angeles." She will be working with members of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health to address colorectal cancer disparities in ethnic minorities. The support allows a collaboration between the To Help Everyone (T.H.E) Health and Wellness Centers and UCLA to improve colorectal cancer screening uptake among Latinos and African-Americans in the South Los Angeles Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC or Community Health Center) where screening rates are low. (2016)