COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT The UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) has a long history of serving the state of North Carolina (NC) through clinical care, research, policy, and cancer-focused outreach and community engagement. Since receiving NCI cancer center designation in 1975 and comprehensive status in 1990, LCCC has served as the only public comprehensive cancer center in NC with patients, outreach, and research efforts in all 100 NC counties. Based on its history of conducting impactful research and delivering cancer care to patients from all 100 NC counties, LCCC defined its catchment area a decade ago as the entire state of NC. The state has the 9th largest population in the US. and is highly diverse with regard to race, ethnicity, and rurality, with 29.3% of the NC population reporting minority race, 9.6% Hispanic ethnicity, and 54% of NC counties considered rural, with 21% of the population living in a rural county. Racially/ethnically diverse and rural populations in NC face a disproportionate burden of cancer and are key constituent populations for LCCC efforts. Notably, LCCC and its clinical venue, UNC Hospitals, have been directly responsible to the people and legislature of NC for ensuring that high quality, accessible cancer care is provided to NC residents regardless of their ability to pay; in a state without Medicaid expansion, this is an important responsibility. For decades, LCCC-supported research and outreach efforts have been committed to defining and implementing cancer practice and policies that are evidence-based and designed to address specific needs in the catchment area, particularly in racial/ethnic minority and rural populations. These responsibilities are now coordinated by the LCCC Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) Office, whose mission it is to meaningfully engage the community in cancer research, clinical care and programmatic and policy efforts to understand and serve the population's needs. COE?s vision and objective are to develop and sustain active community partnerships to reduce the burden of cancer and eliminate cancer disparities in NC and beyond.
The specific aims of the COE Office are to: (1) monitor the cancer burden and identify cancer health disparities in NC; (2) synergize institutional and community efforts to engage diverse stakeholders in addressing the cancer burden and reducing cancer health disparities in NC; (3) coordinate and amplify cancer outreach and supportive care with diverse stakeholder audiences; and (4) facilitate impactful and equity-focused cancer research in NC and beyond. The COE Office ensures that LCCC research, clinical care, and programmatic outreach efforts are timely, relevant, responsive, and infused with community perspectives, including policy makers, community providers and public health practitioners, cancer patients and caregivers, and the public at large. The impact of the work is expected to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality in NC and beyond.
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