The American Indian/Alaska Native Initiative on Cancer
American Indians and Alaska Natives (Al/ANs) rank among the nation's most disadvantaged populations, with many health indicators showing enormous disparities between AI/AN peoples and the white majority population. Data showing high cancer incidence for some tribes and poor cancer survival for most tribes clearly point to the continued public health challenges for cancer control in these populations. Through our NCI-funded Special Populations Network, Spirit of E.A.G.L.E.S., we have made efforts over the past 4 years to increase cancer awareness among tribal Nations and organizations throughout the United States.
The focus of the new Spirit of E.A.G.L.E.S. Community Networks Program (SoE-CNP) is to increase community-based participatory research opportunities addressing culturally relevant education, training, and research. Our long-term goal is to reduce cancer health disparities by maintaining and expanding tribal community networks and coalitions established by the SoE. This plan includes: (1) enhancing collaborations with NCI's Cancer Information Service; (2) recruiting Natives for education, training, and research opportunities; and (3) expanding SoE in the Southeast, Northeast, the Northern Plains and multitribal urban areas. The specific aims for this community network multidisciplinary project are:
Specific Aim 1: Maintain existing community-based networks previously established and expand the current activities to include community-based networks in the Southeast, Northeast, Northern Plains, and multitribal urban populations.
Specific Aim 2: Provide the infrastructure to support, expand, and evaluate tribal community-based participatory research on cancer prevention, control, treatment, and quality-of-life interventions.
Specific Aim 3: Improve access to and utilization of culturally competent cancer interventions (from prevention to palliative care initiatives) using community-based participatory research methods.
Specific Aim 4: Expand training opportunities to increase the number of NCI CIS researchers and communities that are competent in implementing community-based participatory research studies.
Specific Aim 5: Develop, implement and evaluate a strategic plan for long-term maintenance and expansion of SoE-CNP community-based participatory research (CBPR) studies and projects.
Building on our experience in tribal cancer control and our nationwide contacts with AI/AN researchers and research organizations focused on cancer, we have planned an exciting new series of community-based projects and programs that will directly address cancer health disparities for Al/ANs nationwide.