Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network (TB-CCN): A Model for Reducing Health Disparities
In response to an urgent need to create solutions for the development of efficacious cancer interventions for effective penetration within the community, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida, in collaboration with local community-based heath centers, social service agencies, faith-based groups, grassroots organizations, adult education and literacy groups, and local media have formed the Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network (TB-CCN). This local Network aims to address critical access, prevention, and control issues that impact medically underserved, low-literacy, and low-income populations in selected areas of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties. This tricounty area is ethnically diverse and includes a growing number of foreign-born populations. Meeting this goal will involve cancer awareness and education activities, use of community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods, and the creation of sustainable collaborations and partnerships. The development of the Network draws on the strengths of our existing community-academic partnerships, considerable experience in developing innovative education and training programs that examine the nexus of culture and literacy across the continuum of cancer care, and community partners with a mutual goal of improving health. Underlying theoretical principles that guide the development of our network include Freire's critical pedagogy and the critical anthropology of health. Specific aims are to:
- Create a solid, robust, and sustainable core organizational network infrastructure through collaborations, partnerships, and community capacity-building activities (Phase I).
- Develop an Education and Training Hub for the delivery of innovative community-based participatory research, training, and education (Phase II).
- Disseminate evidence-based information through traditional and community-based media (Phase III).
Project evaluation includes both process and outcome measures according to each phase. The overall success of the TB-CCN will be evaluated by the achievement of a sustainable network for education; research on and diffusion of information as assessed by the creation of a solid, sustainable infrastructure; development of relevant education and training activities; increased access to and utilization of screening services; and generation of research proposals and other unique applications of knowledge. It is anticipated that the efforts of the TB-CCN will yield innovative models for education, service delivery, and research that can readily be exported and transferred for broad application to other settings and populations for reducing cancer health disparities.