The Knight Cancer Institute’s Community Partnership Program has awarded $249,797 to 12 community-led projects to address cancer-related needs across the state. This round of funding supports nine new projects and continues funding for three others.
One of the new projects, “Coos Fights Cancer,” is centered on planning a cancer task force in Coos County to increase collaboration and communication among regional partners regarding pancreatic cancer. The task force will collect baseline data related to local pancreatic cancer rates and risk factors.
Barb Snyder, R.N., is the quality and risk manager at Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center and she is co-leading the “Coos Fights Cancer” effort with her colleagues at the South Coast Rural Health Integrated Project Team. She says their team is “thrilled” to receive funding. After moving to Coos County with her husband several years ago, Snyder became increasingly concerned regarding the disproportionally high rates of pancreatic cancer mortality she was seeing.
“I became very concerned about why so many people in Coos County were dying from pancreatic cancer,” she says. “Our rates of pancreatic cancer mortality are higher than the national average and growing. What we really want to do is to better understand why this disease is disproportionately affecting the people of Coos County.”
Snyder says that at the conclusion of their project, their team expects to have a better understanding of the data behind the high rates of pancreatic cancer in Coos County and an action plan for screening and prevention moving forward.
Another new project, designed by the Mid-Columbia Medical Center, or MCMC, aims to expand access to cancer screenings and treatment for underserved communities in Gilliam, Hood River, Sherman and Wasco counties. The project will expand an existing local initiative to increase outreach and access to breast cancer and colorectal cancer screenings.
“Studies have shown that deaths from cancer are higher in rural areas due to lack of prevention, diagnosis and treatment opportunities,” says Amanda Sharie, community care coordinator at Mid-Columbia Medical Center. “Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in cancer screenings, and outreach efforts are more important now than ever before. The Proactive Prevention Program at MCMC expands access to cancer screening through culturally appropriate education, patient navigation and financial assistance. The funding from this grant will allow us to expand this work to reach more patients, increasing screening rates and finding cancer earlier, when it is easier to treat or cure."
The Community Partnership Program offers multiple tiers of funding to help local organizations identify cancer-related needs and create solutions. The program has invested more than $4.3 million directly to 164 community-based projects throughout Oregon since 2014.
Kerri Winters-Stone, Ph.D., is co-director of the Community Partnership Program and co-leader of the Knight Cancer Institute’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program. She says she is particularly proud of the Community Partnership Program’s ability to reach communities all across Oregon.
“I can’t wait to see how these projects help increase early interventions — screenings and tobacco cessation, for example — across a wide swath of people in our state. While supporting efforts that prevent people from getting cancer in the first place is a major goal, early detection and survivorship programs can also reduce the burden of cancer for Oregonians,” she says.
Organizations receiving funding in this grant cycle include:
- 2Live2Cure — Bridging the Gap: Helping Rural Oregon’s Cancer Patients Identify and Fulfill Non-Medical Resource Needs
- Access Care Anywhere — Cancer Community Assessment & Research Equity (CARE) Project
- Healthy Active Oregon Coalition* — Prevent Diet-related Cancer in Oregon by Piloting Voluntary Sugary Drinks Policy
- Healthy Community Collective — Preventing Lung Cancer and Other Respiratory Illnesses through Air Quality Monitoring
- Hood River County Prevention Department — The Hood River County Prevention Department Teen Tobacco Cessation and Education Project
- Mid-Columbia Medical Center — Proactive Prevention Program: Expanding Access to Cancer Screenings and Treatment for Underserved Communities
- Native American Youth and Family Center* — Cancer Prevention through Relating Cultural Teachings to the Four Foundations
- Pacific Integrative Oncology — The Feasibility of a Remote Lymphedema Prevention Program for Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Surgery
- South Coast Rural Health Integrated Project Team — Coos Fights Cancer
- Tobacco-Free Coalition of Oregon — Explore Building a Grassroots, Equity-Centered Coalition for a Commercial Tobacco-Free Future in Oregon
- Umatilla County Public Health* — Umatilla County Breast & Cervical Cancer Screening Capacity Building Initiative
- Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center & Foundation — Preventing HPV-Caused Cancers Through Dentist-Administered HPV Vaccines
Learn more about the projects funded.
* Project continuations