U54 Cancer Outreach Core History

In 2006 the MMC-VICC Cancer Partnership recognized that fuller community engagement was critical to addressing cancer disparities in minority populations and supporting research to achieve this aim. With a clear focus on cancer prevention, the Cancer Outreach Core (COC) was developed as a shared resource for the partnership. Given that Tennessee State University had significant capacity in community-centered research it made sense for the MMC-VICC partnership to include this sister institution in the COC’s development.
Since its inception, the COC has become a vital component of the MMC-VICC partnership. Whether expanding the capacity of investigators to conduct community-based research, initiating engaged community-centered research, forging meaningful connections between community and academic partners or representing the MMC-VICC partnership, the COC is doing its part to eliminate cancer disparities in affected communities.
U54 Cancer Outreach Core Mission and Intents
The purpose of the Cancer Outreach Core (COC) is to provide a means for members of the local community and interested organizations to partner actively with Meharry Medical College (MMC), Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), and Tennessee State University (TSU) on cancer disparities research and outreach initiatives. Community partners identified needs, interests and priority areas structure the COC’s outreach activities, capacity-building activities, and new research projects. The aims of the COC include the following:

  • AIM 1: Build capacity of academic and community partners to conduct community-based participatory research focused on reducing cancer disparities
  • AIM 2: Collaborate with academic and community partners on planning and evaluation activities to guide the development of new research and outreach initiatives.
  • AIM 3: Provide direct cancer outreach to consumers, support other local outreach efforts, and disseminate Partnership information.

U54 Cancer Outreach Core (COC) Guiding Principles / Core Commitments
The Cancer Outreach Core (COC) is comprised of established and emerging scholars, and health leaders dedicated to eliminating the unequal burden of cancer in minority populations (African American, Latino/Hispanic). With an explicit commitment to “community engagement” and altering the unequal power dynamics of research the COC’s activities are guided by the following principles:

  • Eliminate Cancer Disparities – Eliminate cancer disparities in minority populations by identifying relevant needs, interests and priority areas for research and outreach activities.
  • Capacity Building – Build the capacity of academic and community partners to engage in research and outreach activities to eliminate cancer disparities.
  • Empower Communities – Conduct community-based participatory research that recognizes challenges which create and sustain cancer disparities, yet works to eliminate disparities by working in partnership with & building on assets in communities.