207953 Cancer Research by Cancers Survivors: A needs assessment by African American low-income cancer survivors and their caregivers to reduce health disparities

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:15 PM

Maghboeba Mosavel, PhD , Department of Social and Behavioral Health, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth Universtiy, Richmond, VA
Karen Tabb Dina, MSW , School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Meia Jones, BS , MetroHealth Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University Center for Reducing Health Disparities, Cleveland, OH
Catherine Oakar , Research Associate, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Kimberly Sanders, MPA , NEON, Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Centers, Cleveland, OH
This presentation will describe the development of a community-based participatory needs assessment of low income cancer survivors and their caregivers, known as the Community Researchers (CRs) in a Midwestern inner-city setting.

The study prepared 22 cancer survivors and caregivers provided with a basic research foundation, so that CRs are equipped with basic understanding of the regulatory procedures when conducting research. The trainings included research methods, NIH Human Subject Certification (CREC certification), communication, interview techniques etiquette, and self presentation over six extensive training sessions. In addition, CRs were heavily involved in each phase of the process. Cancer survivors and caregivers conducted over 30 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with other cancer survivors and caregivers. Assessment findings demonstrate the utility of using a peer-interview model when conducting research in vulnerable communities.

Several themes emerged in the interviews, surveys, and follow-up evaluations including: (1) need for health education and faith-based health education; (2) the need for development of a community based comprehensive cancer center; (3) the call for successful dissemination of findings to community residents, health professionals, and researchers through presentations at community events and forums, printed media, and local broadcast media; and (4) sustainability, through grants, consultation, and community capacity building activities.

In this presentation we discuss innovative approaches to engage African Americans in community health research. For some, conducting interviews presented the first opportunity to interact with other cancer survivors. For others the interview sessions marked closure and a chance to use their own experience to help newly diagnosed patients in the future. Moreover, the support shared and the expressed comradeship between the CRs was an unanticipated outcome of this project. Most CRs expressed that the interview training sessions helped them heal from their own cancer experiences for a variety of reasons. Furthermore we explore the lessons that we learned using a peer-interview model and developing the tailored CR training tool or curriculum to give voice, build capacity, and engage cancer survivors in addressing health disparities.

Learning Objectives:
•To identify the social, personal, cultural and environmental factors that affect cancer management •To identify the barriers in the community that pose challenges for treatment adherence •To identify the potential resources in the community to help with managing cancer treatments and improving health in general •To discuss how the mistrust of minority and poor individuals towards researchers can be decreased by building a relationship between researchers and participants •To describe a method by which patients can engage in a critical reflection of self, illness, and community • To discuss how policy makers can bring a change in the community by looking at factors identified by the community •To discuss how health care professionals can consider the social context of a disease while evaluating, treating and working with patients

Keywords: African American, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the study coordinator on this project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.