O’Neal Cancer Center receives Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation gift to bolster COVID-19 and cancer response in Alabama’s Black Belt region

A $75,000 gift from the Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation to support cancer awareness and COVID-19 response in Alabama’s Back Belt region was given to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.
Written by: Joseph D. Bryant
Media contact: Beena Thannickal

COE2This photo was taken in 2019 before COVID-19.The Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation has provided the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement with a $75,000 gift to address the disparate impact of cancer and the COVID-19 pandemic on Alabama’s most rural communities.

The gift will fund cancer prevention and awareness activities, along with action to address health disparities that are compounded by the pandemic. Activities also include training the outreach and education staff on how to manage stress and anxiety during the pandemic and coaching community members to better care for themselves regarding the health emergency.

In order to continue to be effective in reducing cancer disparities in diagnosis and outcomes, it is critical for staff to be appropriately trained and prepared to handle the stresses that they themselves and the communities they serve are facing. Some members of these communities are unclear about the facts of the virus, have concerns about how they can secure basic needs (food, financial assistance) and ongoing health care, and are experiencing emotional discomfort of additional stress and anxiety due to loss and/or fear of losing loved ones.

“This timely and generous gift will give our locally based Community Health Advisors additional training tools and resources to better assist residents of the Black Belt who remain at the highest risk for both cancer and COVID-19,” said Monica Baskin, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine and associate director for the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement. “These activities represent the essence of our cancer center’s commitment to improving the health and quality of life in medically underserved communities through education, research and service.”