The main goal of the Community Engagement and Outreach Core (CEOC) is to strengthen, enhance and expand meaningful community-academic partnerships that positively impact health disparities through innovative community awareness and outreach activities. Meeting this goal requires sustainable community collaborations, use of community-based participatory research methods, and innovative culturally, linguistically and literacy relevant cancer communications. It requires exposure and education of community members, researchers, and community providers to each others'perspectives and concerns in order to better understand the problems and collectively offer and define potential solutions to cancer disparities. This Core along with other Cores supports translational research efforts for reducing cancer disparities among racial/ethnic minorities and medically underserved populations in our proposed geographic region. It draws on the expertise of a team of community-academic partners who place high value on the mutual goal of improved community health through engagement, dialogue and collective problem-solving approaches in a co-learning environment. Also, the proposed CEOC builds on a significant history of successful community partnerships for cancer control and a strong infrastructure of outreach and community-based health disparities research created by USF and the Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network ({TBCCN} U01 CA11462701). The TBCCN addresses critical access, prevention and control issues that impact medically underserved, low-literacy and low-income populations in selected areas of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties and includes local community-based heath centers, social service agencies, faith-based groups, adult education and literacy groups, and local media. The term "medically underserved" cuts across all racial/ethnic groups and is related to utilization of cancer prevention/cancer screening/cancer treatment resources. For our purposes, medically underserved populations for this proposal include individuals and families who are uninsured, underinsured and insured, and those with limited literacy and English language skills. We recognize that having health insurance does not necessarily equate to unproblematic health care access and affordability. Underlying theoretical principles that guide the development of our Core include Freire's critical pedagogy and critical anthropology of health. It is anticipated that the efforts of the CEOC will yield an innovative model of community engagement and outreach that can readily be exported and transferred for broad application to other settings and populations for reducing cancer health disparities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-EMNR-B)
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University of South Florida
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