Carolina Community Network
Four in every ten North Carolinians will develop cancer during their lives. It is evident that cancer is a major health concern as well as reflecting a major health disparity, not only in regard to gender and racial differences, but geographically as well. The Carolina Community Network (CCN) has set as its mission the reduction of prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer disparities among adult African Americans by leveraging longstanding university-community relationships and the community-based participatory research expertise at the University of North Carolina (UNC) to enhance and extend cancer education and research, research training, and cancer health policy in both secular and faith-based communities. Specifically, the CCN will: educate both researchers and community members about cancer health disparities and methods of ameliorating them; train a cadre of academic and community researchers to implement and disseminate best cancer prevention and intervention practices; conduct community-based participatory research; change treatment and care-seeking patterns for residents of the communities; and identify areas for the development or modification of health policy in the area of cancer prevention and treatment to ultimately eliminate cancer health disparities in North Carolina. The Carolina Community Network will form a pipeline of cancer education and cancer research projects that will be tailored and piloted in both secular and faith-based community settings. The long-term goals of the CCN are to: (1) improve utilization of beneficial cancer interventions; (2) increase the number of minorities in clinical trials and other forms of research; (3) strengthen the community's knowledge of cancer disparities and treatment; and (4) impact cancer prevention and control policies. The Carolina Community Network is well positioned to address these cancer health disparities because of the depth and breadth of the community-based participatory research expertise at UNC, availability of contrasting faith-based and secular community partners, and established ties to community groups.