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Keywords

community engagement; community-based participatory research; cancer health disparities

Abstract

Creating health equity and eliminating health disparities are considered national priorities for improving the health of Americans (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). Health disparities are a primary public health concern, yet are complex phenomena and challenging to research (Harper & Lynch, 2005). The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), under the National Institute of Health (NIH), is committed to finding solutions to achieve this goal through the creation of interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence. In 2009, the University of South Florida (USF) and Moffitt Cancer Center (Moffitt) received a NIMHD Exploratory Center of Excellence award to collaboratively create the Center for Equal Health (CEH). The Center for Equal Health investigates cancer health disparities, their origins, and potential solutions for the reduction and ultimate elimination of health inequities among racial/ethnic minorities and the medically underserved. Currently in its fourth year, the purpose of the center is to utilize a transdisciplinary approach (basic, clinical, and population sciences) to develop novel interventions and solutions for the reduction and elimination of cancer health disparities among minority and underserved communities in Florida through science, practice, and policy. Specifically, the center’s vision is to achieve health equity in the community through cancer research, education, and training. To fulfill this vision, CEH is organized into four cores: 1) Administration, 2) Research, 3) Research, Training, and Education, and 4) Community Engagement and Outreach. This paper specifically describes the community-based education and training initiatives, specifically the Community Health Worker training, talking circles, science tours, community research council, and podcasts/media outreach, of the Community Engagement and Outreach Core (CEOC). The processes of the activities of the CEOC and lessons learned are highlighted with the primary goal of sharing a successful model of community engagement.

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