The Appalachian region has long been considered an area with pronounced health disparities, particularly related to cancer. A transdisciplinary team of community partners and academic collaborators from Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia propose to build on the strong foundation of community based participatory research (CBPR) and implement the next generation of cancer disparities reduction efforts for the low income, medically underserved population of Appalachia. This proposed National Community Network Program will consist of a headquarters site at the University of Kentucky and regional sites at the Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), West Virginia University and the University of Kentucky and will address cancer disparities in a five-state region. Each partnering institution includes a constellation of regional community and academic partners who collectively have built strong CBPR models for cancer research and intervention. Plans for this proposed Community Networks Program have been developed in collaboration with community partners and is structured to include community participation. The ACCN will include an Administrative Core at the University of Kentucky and programs in Research, Training and Community Outreach. The Research Program will include a full research project that will test a faith-based intervention to reduce cancer risks by addressing the problem of obesity, which occurs in epidemic proportions in Appalachia. The full research project will be implemented in all ACCN regions. A pilot project on health communications related to participation in clinical trials is proposed by a promising junior investigator with mentorship by ACCN senior investigators at two universities. The Training program proposes an initiative that will provide structured, mentored experiences for junior investigators and postdoctoral trainees. The Community Outreach program will continue to develop infrastructure and support for community interactions and will include a Community Health Educator to work jointly with the ACCN and CRCHD.

Public Health Relevance

This proposed project focuses on reducing cancer health disparities in Appalachia, a population with high rates of several types of cancer. The project will be planned and carried out with community partners and will be designed with a clear vision of the needs, interests and values of the community. The research will be carried out in partnership with the faith community and will focus on obesity which increases cancer risk.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-PCRB-G (M1))
Program Officer
Perruccio, Elizabeth M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Kentucky
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Paskett, Electra D; Baltic, Ryan D; Young, Gregory S et al. (2018) A Group Randomized Trial to Reduce Obesity among Appalachian Church Members: The Walk by Faith Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 27:1289-1297
Palmer-Wackerly, Angela L; Dailey, Phokeng M; Krok-Schoen, Jessica L et al. (2018) Patient Perceptions of Illness Identity in Cancer Clinical Trial Decision-Making. Health Commun 33:1045-1054
Krieger, Janice L; Palmer-Wackerly, Angela; Dailey, Phokeng M et al. (2015) Comprehension of Randomization and Uncertainty in Cancer Clinical Trials Decision Making Among Rural, Appalachian Patients. J Cancer Educ 30:743-8
Baltic, Ryan D; Weier, Rory C; Katz, Mira L et al. (2015) Study design, intervention, and baseline characteristics of a group randomized trial involving a faith-based healthy eating and physical activity intervention (Walk by Faith) to reduce weight and cancer risk among overweight and obese Appalachian adults. Contemp Clin Trials 44:1-10
Garcia-Dominic, Oralia; Lengerich, Eugene J; Camacho, Fabian et al. (2014) Prevalence of diabetes and associated obesity in Pennsylvania adults, 1995-2010. Prev Chronic Dis 11:E111
Spleen, Angela M; Lengerich, Eugene J; Camacho, Fabian T et al. (2014) Health care avoidance among rural populations: results from a nationally representative survey. J Rural Health 30:79-88
Palmer-Wackerly, Angela L; Krok, Jessica L; Dailey, Phokeng M et al. (2014) Community engagement as a process and an outcome of developing culturally grounded health communication interventions: an example from the DECIDE project. Am J Community Psychol 53:261-74
Gallant, Nancy R; Corbin, Marilyn; Bencivenga, Marcyann M et al. (2013) Adaptation of an evidence-based intervention for Appalachian women: new STEPS (Strength Through Education, Physical fitness and Support) for breast health. J Cancer Educ 28:275-81
Aumiller, Betsy B; Parrott, Roxanne; Lengerich, Eugene J et al. (2013) Responses to a theoretically adapted clinical trial education session: faith-based sites versus rural work site dissemination. J Cancer Educ 28:698-708