Community engagement requires a collaborative process that provides benefits to all partners, including: access to information and resources, skill enhancement, and participation in solving community issues. The Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD) at Siteman Cancer Center works to engage local communities and collaborate with community partners to foster healthy communities and environments that reduce cancer disparities. PECaD interacts with communities through a broad range of activities (outreach and education, community partnerships, community research training) and seeks to engage with communities in a way that is collaborative, culturally appropriate, and inclusive.
PECaD seeks to align projects with 11 community engagement principles:
- Focus on local relevance and determinants of health
- Acknowledge the community
- Disseminate findings and knowledge gained to all partners
- Seek and use the input of community partners
- Involve a cyclical and iterative process in pursuit of objectives
- Foster co-learning, capacity building, and co-benefit for all partners
- Build on strengths and resources within the community
- Facilitate collaborative, equitable partnerships
- Integrate and achieve a balance of all partners
- Involve all partners in the dissemination process
- Plan for a long-term process and commitment
PECaD achieves these principles through outreach and education, community partnerships including the breast cancer community partnership, the colorectal cancer community partnership and the prostate cancer community partnership, and the community research training program.
Outreach and Education
Outreach and Education are important pillars of PECaD’s work. We identify medically underserved parts of the community and related barriers to quality cancer care; enhance community health, access to quality cancer care and health information; evaluate efforts to promote and bring education and prevention messages to the community; and develop plans for long-term continuation of outreach and education.
Over the years, Siteman Cancer Center and PECaD have participated in or hosted numerous community cancer prevention, awareness and education activities, and reported research findings back to the community. Here are a few examples:
- A monthly cancer survivor story in the St. Louis American newspaper that provides readers with a glimpse into a community member’s cancer journey. Accompanying each story is an ask-the-doctor column that provides in-depth cancer education and prevention information and local community resources. The newspaper publishes 70,000 copies weekly and is distributed at more than 845 locations throughout St. Louis city, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and portions of Illinois. Readership of the newspaper is largely African-American.
- Developing cancer prevention and awareness messages:
- Collaborating with Siteman’s mobile mammography van to bring the van to community events.
- In collaboration with the Washington University School of Medicine Becker Medical Library and the St. Louis Public Library (SLPL), PECaD has set up cancer information kiosks in several city library branches. Kiosks are located in SLPL’s Schlafly, Carpenter, Buder and Julia Davis branches. They offer local cancer resource materials as well as cancer education and prevention information.
- PECaD collaborates with churches to host workshops that focus on cancer health and wellness. The workshops provide churches that have or are building health ministries with consultation, support and state-of-the-art cancer prevention information for their programs. They also link community partners to information about local cancer prevention resources and research.
- PECaD provides podcasts to Minds Eye Radio, a radio station and virtual newsstand for people experiencing blindness, low vision or other physical disability that prevents them from reading. These podcasts focus on topics that educate the community on cancer and cancer prevention. Below are links to their “Health Beyond Barriers Podcasts.”
If you have planned a community event or activity and would like PECaD to participate or to get more information on outreach and education, contact PECaD at 314-747-1189 or PECaD@wudosis.wustl.edu.
Community Research Training
The Community Research Fellows Training (CRFT) Program is a comprehensive public health research training course at Washington University School of Medicine and Siteman Cancer Center. The program objective is to promote the role of underserved populations in the research enterprise by enhancing community capacity for community based participatory research. CRFT program goals are to 1) train community members to become good consumers of research, 2) understand how to use research as a tool in improving health outcomes in their communities, and 3) increase community capacity for collaboration with academic research institutions in mutually beneficial projects and programs. The curriculum has 15 sessions, each is a three hour lay-friendly version of Master of Public Health (MPH) curriculum topics including: health literacy, ethics, cultural competency, epidemiology, quantitative and qualitative research methods, chronic disease prevention, clinical trials, study design, program evaluation and grant writing. The training is designed to implement culturally appropriate ways to increase research literacy among community members. Over 100 community members have completed the program and several serve on the CRFT Patient Research Advisory Board. For more information please contact CRFT@wudosis.wustl.edu.
For more tools and information on Community Engagement, please visit the following web pages: