Rachel Burkhart-Bergmans

The Identification and Epidemiological Profile of Arab American Cancer Cases within the California, Detroit, and New Jersey SEER Registries

Until recently, Arab Americans (AA) have been largely unrecognized in research concerning cancer incidence and mortality. Separate studies conducted in California and Michigan have used data provided in the SEER program to estimate cancer mortality rates in the AA Population. SEER is the most comprehensive source for US population-based data on cancer mortality, survival and diagnosis, however; one of its drawbacks is the lack of specification concerning those of Arab descent. Within the registry AA are grouped together with the white population and ethnic affiliation is often not listed. 
Within the U.S., California and Michigan have the two largest Arab populations, respectively. In order to identify AA cases from the California and Detroit SEER registries, surname lists have been developed using resources such as Arab/Chaldean community outreach groups, birth and death records, NUMIDENT, and publicly available information. The difference between the surname list developed in California and that in Detroit is that, the cases identified from the California SEER registry include both those of Arab and Middle Eastern descent. In order to compare the AA cancer incidence rates between Detroit and California, the surname list developed for the Detroit SEER registry will be applied to the California SEER registry. In addition, New Jersey is home to the fifth largest Arab populations in the U.S., however currently no research has been done to determine AA cancer incidence within the New Jersey SEER registry. 
Collecting cancer incidence data on Arab populations across these three states with provide an interesting comparison because differences are still expected due to varying ethnic demographics. California is primarily represented by Lebanese and Egyptian populations, whereas; Michigan has an even larger Lebanese population and a high volume of Iraqi's as well. Similar to California, New Jersey has a large Egyptian population. It might be expected that the cancer incidence calculated in these states will be more comparable to those seen in Michigan. 
This project will provide distribution data on cancer rates in Arab Americans across the U.S.; generate hypotheses to investigate the reason behind the different rates observed, and; continue the objective of the CEESP program: to investigate cancer incidence and mortality in a special population domestically which otherwise would be underrepresented.

First, to calculate the AAs cancer incidence in the California SEER Cancer Registry using the AAs name list created by the Detroit SEER registry. Which will include both case identification and population ascertainment.
Second, to calculate the cancer incidence of non-AAs Middle Eastern population in California based on the previous incidence calculated in California using the Middle Eastern name list and the new calculation proposed in Objective 1.
Third, to explore the possibility of implementing Aim 1 using the data of the New Jersey SEER cancer registry.

About Rachel
Rachel graduated from Hope College in 2009 with a B.A. in Exercise Science and a minor in Environmental Science. She graduated from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2013 with an M.P.H in Occupational & Environmental Epidemiology and a Certificate in Global Health.