Online Program

Engaging community in cancer control solutions: An Appalachian experience

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Joellen Edwards, PhD, RN, FAAN, College of Nursing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Kristine Harper Bowers, BA, Office of Rural and Community Health Partnerships, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
This presentation describes a project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Appalachian Regional Commission to reduce cancer burden in Appalachian communities and engage communities with Community Cancer Control Coalitions and state Cancer Control Plans. Appalachia is a federally defined geographic area in parts of 13 states along the Appalachian Mountains, where poverty, lower educational levels and health disparities persist into the 21st century. Lung, skin and colorectal cancer exceed national and state levels. Parts of the region have higher rates of cervical cancer; and breast cancer, while not exceeding national rates, is discovered at a later stage. Appalachian culture is characterized by deep family ties, identification with mountain culture and geography, religiosity, and self-reliance. Locally acceptable engagement strategies to reduce the cancer burden were discovered in this project. Community-based participatory strategies were used by community leaders and academics to engage communities in cancer control, including the development of Community Roundtables, Community Forums and Storytelling to learn community perspectives on cancer in communities. Sub-awards to communities for local projects, training sessions, and partnerships with community organizations were used to implement the project. Roundtables, consisting of presentation of data around cancer concerns and community needs and resources; forums, where cancer advocacy plans were developed; and storytelling to “tell the community cancer story” were developed and used in seven states. Facilitators and barriers to Appalachian community participation in cancer control efforts were discovered including personal motivation, effective use of meeting time, long term commitment, and others.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the process of community-academic engagement in cancer control solutions in rural Appalachia.

Keyword(s): Community Capacity, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have studied rural health for 20 years, and published in the area of cancer screening in women's health and other rural health issues. I was the PI on a NIH Center grant for translational research in rural, underserved Appalachian populations and multiple other federal grants that aimed to promote and improve rural and Appalachian health.
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.