Associate Director, Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Blase Polite, MD, MPP, has expertise in the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies, with a particular focus on colon, rectal and anal cancers, and neuroendocrine (carcinoid) tumors. Also, as a recognized leader in advancing proposals to eliminate health disparities with a particular focus on colon cancer disparities, he was recently elected to serve as Chair for the ASCO Health Disparities Advisory Group and is a lead member of the Alliance (formerly CALGB, NCCTG, ACOSOG) health disparities group. In conjunction with the Center for GI Oncology, Dr. Polite works closely with national and international experts in surgical and radiation oncology and interventional gastroenterology. Through this team approach, individualized treatment plans can be established for each patient. He lectures and publishes on these topics, and serves on a national scientific advisory panel charged with selecting the top research abstracts to be presented at national meetings for GI cancers. He is also frequently asked to perform peer review of research being considered for publication in major medical journals. Dr. Polite has initiated several clinical research trials aimed at advancing our treatment of colon and rectal cancer at all stages including for individuals whose tumor has grown despite standard treatments. In addition to his primary clinical responsibilities, Dr. Polite’s research has focused on understanding racial and ethnic differences in colon cancer outcomes, with a focus on understanding the psychological, social, and spiritual needs of each patient.
As a cancer doctor and health disparities investigator at The University of Chicago, Dr. Polite takes personalized medicine seriously. He treats the whole person, not just the disease, by striving to understand the individual – who they are and what they will need to fight their cancer. His commitment to helping the individual heal pushes him to work for new models in medicine, ones that provide access to quality care across the cancer care continuum for all people.
Over the years he has watched the chasm grow deeper and ever wider between those who have access to good healthcare care and those who do not. This has been a driving force for him to not only understand the black-white health disparity that continues to grow in Chicago and across the United States, but to also find real solutions. Blase collaborates with researchers from around the country with the hope that by erasing lines across fields and institutions, someday we will also be able to erase disparities in acess to adequate health care.