Chronic Disease

Breast Cancer Disparities

Through the Breast Cancer Disparities Learning Community, ASTHO works with the state health departments strengthen their ability to mobilize data resources more effectively to address sociodemographic disparities in breast cancer mortality, with a focus on the elevated mortality rates of black women in the United States. Examples from demonstration states, Arizona; Tennessee; and West Virginia, are using high quality data more efficiently to monitor public health impacts for breast cancer prevention and control activities within their states. The focus of the learning community is driven by the following data sources: screening, time from screening to initiation of treatment and quality treatment. Through this learning community, state-specific data helped to identify geographic spatial analysis needs and establish decision makers’ priorities to reduce the health disparities gaps in breast cancer screening, follow up after abnormal screening result and treatment.

Additional information on ASTHO's Breast Cancer Disparities Learning Community can be found in the following materials from the national learning community webinar convened on August 8, 2017:


The following CDC reports provide a background on the current breast cancer mortality statistics in the United States, and demonstrate the need to identify and address disparities in breast cancer mortality at the state and local level:

ASTHO consultants have been highly involved in this project since its onset, providing demonstration states with technical assistance and expert advice to improve epidemiologic capacity, increase expertise in GIS mapping, and translate data findings into sustainable and evidence-based action:

Breast Cancer Online Toolkit

The ASTHO Breast Cancer Online Toolkit is an online portal that details the analytical methods, available resources, summaries from the journal literature, and lessons learned from ASTHO’s Breast Cancer Disparities Learning Community. It is designed to include all of the resources and information that a state or local health department would need to guide their action steps to identify and address disparities impacting breast cancer mortality in one’s own state or municipality. This toolkit represents a multidisciplinary, collaborative effort that reflects the experiences and expertise of state health department program managers and epidemiologists, university researchers, GIS industry experts, and partners from national and local organizations. The primary examples included in the toolkit come from the lessons learned and success reported from Arizona, Tennessee and West Virginia.

If you have any questions or suggestions pertaining to the online toolkit, please contact

Year 1 Findings

ASTHO developed a poster describing key findings, lessons learned, and next steps for each demonstration state after initial state data collection activities. ASTHO also developed one-pagers that explore key findings, lessons learned, and next steps for each state in greater detail:

Blog Posts

As part of the Breast Cancer Learning Community, ASTHO promotes high quality treatment in breast cancer care through the development of blog posts. Defining and quantifying high quality breast cancer care, and ensuring that all populations have equitable access to quality treatment, are ongoing challenges for states, and we will feature stories sharing the strategies states have implemented to address those challenges. Other blog posts are coming soon: