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Community based interventions have gained attention as a practical approach to reducing the burden of cancer within vulnerable communities. To address the increase of cancer disparities within our catchment area, Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) collaborated with the Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC) team at two different events during the month of July.
Twenty-three undergraduate students participating in the Cancer Research Scholars Program (SURF-CRSP) formed two teams with faculty mentors to advance the health and well-being of Ohioans. Scholar teams met twice to plan for their field experience and met again after the events for a debriefing with their respective faculty member. Field experiences with partner organizations were carefully integrated into the Cancer Research Scholar Program curriculum to introduce scholars on ways to successfully promote health, empower community members and support the missions of community organizations.
Rachael Nolan, PhD, Assistant Professor, and an Advanced-Certified Grief Recovery Specialist® partnered with the Cancer Justice Network (CJN). On July 5th Community Cancer Navigators from CJN and CRSP Scholars received a two-hour grief sensitivity training facilitated by Dr. Nolan. Then, on July 12th, CRSP scholars traveled to the West College Hill Neighborhood Center to meet with CJN Community Cancer Navigators to learn about and adopt strategies that can be used to address the needs of individuals experiencing grief and loss as a result of cancer. As co-creators, the CRSP Scholar and CJN Navigators will be hosting a ‘Grief AND Cancer’ community event at the West College Hill Neighborhood Center on Tuesday, July 12 from 1-3PM. The CJN promotes cancer education, advocacy, and awareness for underserved and medically disenfranchised populations in the Cincinnati area.
Melinda Butsch Kovacic, MPH, PhD, Professor and Associate Director of Community Outreach & Engagement, partnered with the Norwood Health Department and We Engage for Health (WE4H) to offer a Cancer Screening and Prevention Fair. The goal of the collaboration was to provide cancer education and screenings, as well as collect community cancer data. On July 13th, the Cancer Research Scholars held a “virtual cancer fair” to prepare for their in-person event at the Norwood Middle School on July 16th. Scholars shared WE4H’s graphic style cancer stories as a way of helping attendees understand more about various types of cancer. Examples of cancer stories included, “Cells Gone Wrong” to explain the concept uncontrolled cell growth and “Losing the Cancer Lottery” to explain how cancer risk can be positively and negatively impacted by family history, local environmental exposures, and lifestyle/nutrition. The Norwood Health Department seeks to address health inequities and disparities by providing community members support and access to comprehensive, integrated healthcare to achieve the best possible cancer outcomes.
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