? Despite cancer incidence rates that align with national averages, Arkansans suffer from the 12 highest cancer mortality rates in the US and severe disparities for breast, prostate, gynecological, and colorectal cancers. Deeply ingrained demographic, access, and risk behavior factors contribute to these problems. The proposed Arkansas Cancer Community Network (AR-CCN) seeks to build upon past experiences and accomplishments of the Arkansas Special Populations Access Network (ASPAN) to continue addressing these issues by bridging gaps from discovery to development and from development to delivery of appropriate interventions. AR-CCN's ultimate purpose is to reduce health disparities at the local level by working with communities to: discover culturally competent methods to reduce disparities; measure disparity reduction; apply this information through dissemination and policy development; and sustain effective interventions at local, state, and possibly national levels by implementing policies and gaining support from varied sources. AR-CCN's overall goal is to significantly improve access to and utilization of beneficial cancer interventions in communities with cancer health disparities, thereby reducing disparities.
The aims of the AR-CCN will further develop and increase capacity building that began with ASPAN, develop community-based participatory research and training programs, and establish credibility and create sustainability for productive local networks. Backed by experienced leadership and staffing, AR-CCN will draw upon the expertise of multiple institutional and community partners, collaborations with NCI-related programs, and effective community interventions to support integrated community-based participatory activities, enhance and increase its partnerships and collaborations, increase use and integration of beneficial interventions, and increase leveraged non-CRCHD funds for community-based education, prevention, and screening activities to reduce cancer disparities. CRCHD funding will enable the network to expand its training and preparation programs and develop additional pilot research projects to reduce cancer health disparities. Experienced evaluators will determine reduction in cancer disparities at the community level while AR-CCN's team works to obtain non-CRCHD funding and provide evidence-based information to local, state, and federal decision and policy makers ? ?
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