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Research News

Lung Cancer Screening Program among VA Shark Tank Finalists

September 15, 2020

Christopher Slatore, MD, MSChristopher Slatore, MD, MS

The VA Diffusion of Excellence Initiative recently announced their annual Shark Tank competition finalists, and a lung cancer screening program, led by HSR&D investigator Christopher Slatore, MD, MS, was among the 15 practices selected to move forward in the competition. Dr. Slatore is an investigator with the HSR&D Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care and a physician with the VA Portland Healthcare System, where he leads the VISN 20 Centralized Lung Cancer Screening (CLCS) program. The program provides Veterans with a highly inclusive, safe, Veteran-centric process that increases access to life-saving annual lung cancer screenings and minimizes the burden for primary care providers. Thus far, the CLCS program has received more than 3,500 consults; screened approximately 2,076 Veterans; and detected and treated 62 patients with early-stage lung cancer. The program is of critical importance because Veterans have higher lung cancer mortality rates than non-Veterans due to both military exposures and higher-than-average smoking rates.

Dr. Slatore was a recipient of the HSR&D Career Development award and is currently leading several projects focused on the prevention, detection, and treatment of tobacco-related lung diseases. He is working to develop innovative approaches to treatment in order to improve patient outcomes. In addition to his VA funding, Dr. Slatore’s research has been funded by the Radiation Oncology Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the Knight Cancer Institute.

On October 28, 2020, the VISN 20 CLCS program will vie for the opportunity to be in the next cohort of Diffusion of Excellence Promising Practices at the VHA Innovation Experience (iEX), which will be virtually broadcast from the National Press Club. Finalists will have three minutes in which to pitch their practices to both VISN (Veterans Integrated Service Network) and VA Medical Center Director “Sharks” at the competition. Competitors must demonstrate how their practice makes a difference, what it takes to implement, and why VA leadership should choose their practice. During the pitch, VA leaders will bid resources—such as equipment, staff, or time—in order to “win” the chance to implement the practice in their facility or VISN.

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