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Community Health Educators

What are Community Health Educators (CHEs)?

Community Health Educators (CHEs) make a real difference in their communities. Working at grantee sites, they play a pivotal role in cultivating relationships among the grantee institutions, NCI, researchers, and the community. Along with a master's degree, CHEs have an understanding of NCI programs and research, access to the latest cancer information, and experience in cancer control, communications, outreach, training, program planning, and evaluation. They work as the liaison among the researchers, partners, and community to identify areas of need, and develop, adapt, and disseminate health promotion/cancer education materials that are culturally tailored to the specific needs of communities.

To date, NCI has invested $8.1 million in administrative supplements to support infrastructure development between disparities researchers and communities via CHEs. In FY 2009, the National Outreach Network (NON) began with 17 CHEs at sites around the country where NCI's community-based research is conducted. With American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, grantees in CRCHD's flagship programs support CHEs for two years. With administrative supplemental funding in FY 2010, 19 new CHEs were added to the Network. Also in FY 2010, CHE positions were embedded into 23 Community Networks Program Centers (CNP-C) grants for five years, bringing the total number of CHEs to 59.


What is the role of the CHE?

CHEs serve a dual role: first, CHEs are based at NCI grantee sites, and work directly with Principal Investigators and the research team to meet the goals of their research; second, they develop and conduct community outreach activities to address and reduce the specific cancers and cancer health disparities prevalent in their local communities.


What are the CHE's research-based activities?

  • Disseminate NCI messages, materials, programs, and research opportunities, as needed.
  • Assist in hypothesis-driven research programs to increase use of and access to beneficial early detection procedures, including mammograms, PAP smears, colorectal screening and prostate antigen testing, and healthy behaviors such as smoking cessation.
  • Support screening, prevention, biospecimen collection, and clinical trials.
  • Keep up-to-date with knowledge through mandatory training by teleconference, webinar, etc.


What are the CHE's community outreach-based activities?

CHE responsibilities include oversight, coordination, support, and logistical services needed to optimize communication, provide education/outreach within local activities by incorporating cancer information and relevant training knowledge.

  • Assess baseline information on community's health needs and resources.
  • Develop a long-term education/outreach plan to address a local cancer health disparity.
  • Assist in the planning and implementation of education/outreach activities.
  • Increase awareness and foster adoption of NCI research findings on cancer prevention, early detection, and treatments adapted for targeted audiences/communities.
  • Disseminate culturally appropriate, evidence-based information and educational materials on cancer prevention and treatment, including clinical trials accrual.
  • Use new and innovative social media technology, such as Twitter, RSS (Really Simple News Syndication), Facebook, etc., to increase exposure of NCI messages to the community.
  • Partner with community-based, civic, and faith-based organizations to extend the outreach and dissemination of cancer information and advances to underrepresented communities.
  • Bring the community voice to the research enterprise.
  • Empower the community and influence behavior change.


  • CHE Listing

    Find a listing of the currently funded Community Health Educators (CHEs).

Updated: 05/16/13