The University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center has long been recognized as a leader in community outreach, most notably for its work in increasing education and awareness of cancer in minority and underserved populations.
Through its partnerships with local community leaders and other academic institutions, the Cancer Center is leading the way in reducing health care disparities among minorities.
“As we are the only NCI-designed comprehensive cancer center in a four-state region, it is critical that we address the disparities that exist in minority populations,” said Claudia Hardy, director of the Office of Community Outreach at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. “These populations, specifically African-Americans and Hispanics, experience a higher cancer mortality rate, and at the UAB Cancer Center, we have the opportunity to serve a large minority geographic region.”
For more than 20 years, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center has created and perfected a unique model in which it uses community health advisers, or ‘natural helpers’ from the community to reach the medically underserved in those communities. These CHAs provide cancer awareness and screening messages and link resources to their communities. CHAs who are also trained to conduct multi-level participatory research help to develop, implement and evaluate education programs to reduce cancer health disparities.
“We’ve trained more than 1,200 CHAs to reach African-Americans and other medically underserved to include cancer screening, healthy lifestyles, environmental evaluations and community-based research interventions,” Hardy said. “Cancer is not an equal-opportunity disease. Many minorities must face this great burden without the resources they need.”
In observance of National Minority Health Month, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is participating in community outreach events throughout Jefferson County. These events are free and open to the public. Events include:
- Minority Cancer Awareness Week Expo: Monday, April 9, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at the UAB Hospital North Pavilion, 2nd Floor
- Meet the Cancer Center Director: Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D.: Tuesday, April 17, 5-6 p.m. at the JCCEO Festival Head Start Center, 6701 Crestwood Blvd.
- 107 Days to Better Health Expo: Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the YMCA Youth Center, 2400 Seventh Ave. North
For questions regarding community events, contact Claudia Hardy at (205) 975-5454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.