The Community Networks Program is designed to address the cancer burden in racial/ethnic minorities by engaging community members through Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). The Meharry Community Health Centers (CHC)-Community Networks Program (CNP) Center will adhere to CBPR methodologies to reach the target populations of African Americans being served by partnering CHCs in Chattanooga, Memphis, and Nashville. Meharry and partnering CHCs share a common vision of improving health care and health outcomes, and reducing health disparities among underserved populations through service, outreach, and wellness. Meharry will assume a leadership role of the entire infrastructure, and will provide coordination within the CBPR framework, so that goals, objectives, and specific aims are achieved. The Center will include the three required program components;(1) Outreach, (2) Research, and (3) Training. The Outreach program will focus on developing a Community Action Plan designed to improve risk factor status (diet, exercise, smoking, screening, and cancer prevention knowledge) among the targeted population. The large Research Program will work at the three CHCs on HPV and cervical cancer screening, implementing interventions targeting providers, parents and age-appropriate children. The small research project will focus on determining the knowledge, attitudes, and practices relative to providing biospecimens for clinical trials research, and the Training Program will seek to recruit junior faculty as trainees to learn about CBPR methods through a variety of educational techniques, including mentoring, career development plans, conducting pilot projects, attending special workshops, courses and lectures. The MMC-CHC-CNP will oversee and provide logistical support to these program elements to assure smooth coordination and Center excellence, and contribute to a reduction in cancer and other co-morbid health disparities in African Americans In the target areas of Tennessee.
Meharry and the partnering CHCs share a common mission, which is to improve the health and health care outcomes of underserved populations. The CBPR methodology promotes the conduct of research in communities that experience a disproportionate burden of health disparities. Through the partnership with CHCs, the Meharry CNP Center is likely to successfully reach at-risk African Americans in three urban cities in Tennessee for cancer-related initiatives.
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