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Nine organizations receive OHSU Knight Cancer Institute funding to address local cancer-related needs

Newly funded projects will focus on needs of Spanish-speaking communities, measure impact of financial support during cancer treatment, provide youth peer education for HPV prevention
Group of three women talking with masks on.
Community Partnership Program funds will be used to improve patient enagement strategies in health care including offering bilingual materials, follow-up education, and more. (Getty Images)

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Community Partnership Program has awarded funding to community-led projects designed to address cancer-related needs across the state. This round of funding supports six new projects and continues funding for three others. Since 2014, the Community Partnership Program has invested more than $4.6 million in 179 projects around the state.

A new project, designed by Good Shepherd Health Care System (GSHCS) in Hermiston, aims to increase colorectal cancer screening rates by distributing fecal occult blood test kits for adults ages 50 to 75 to use at home. Because more than a quarter of the Hermiston community comprises individuals of Hispanic or Latino descent, Good Shepherd’s screening efforts will include a strong focus on engaging the Spanish-speaking community.

Catherine Wisniewski, M.P.H., CHES, community health educator at Good Shepherd, says the organization has tried to raise colorectal cancer screening rates in the past, and this newly funded effort will enhance previous strategies to increase engagement, including offering bilingual materials, using the established relationship between patients and their providers, and providing follow-up education for patients who return completed kits.

“To ensure the approach is socially and culturally appropriate, GSHCS clinic partners have bilingual and bicultural staff available to assist with this initiative,” she says. “The project blueprint is based on benchmark programs developed in similar rural populations across the United States. We are eager to begin this new community improvement initiative and better the health of our community!”

Another project designed to reach the Spanish-speaking population in Oregon was submitted by Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice, the only end-of-life program outside of hospice in the Rogue Valley. The organization manages Celia’s House, a residential end-of-life care facility.

Dwight Wilson, executive director of Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice and a nurse by training, says his team will use the grant funds to explore new ways to engage with the Latinx community.

“We’ve learned that important end-of-life discussions don’t always happen in Latinx families,” he said. “We want to engage the community in a way that’s meaningful – palliative care includes managing chronic, ongoing challenges with age. Palliation does not always mean end-of-life; having those discussions earlier can be incredibly empowering for patients and their families. We want to engage the Latinx community in this conversation.”

Jackie Shannon, Ph.D., R.D.
Jackie Shannon, Ph.D., R.D. (OHSU)

Jackie Shannon, Ph.D., is co-director of the Community Partnership Program and associate director of community outreach and engagement at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. She says she is proud that Community Partnership Program grantees are prioritizing efforts to reach non-English speakers.

“The Community Partnership Program has always been centered on the idea that communities know their needs best,” she says. “I’m particularly pleased to see so many projects center non-English speaking communities in their outreach efforts. We want people across Oregon to have equitable access to important cancer-related resources and educational materials.”

Organizations receiving funding in this grant cycle include:

  • Samaritan Health Services, Inc. — Disparities in Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Intercommunity Health Network (IHN)-CCO Members.
  • Best Health Consult LLC — Know Your Prostate (Knowledge and burden of Prostate Cancer) in Klamath Falls.
  • Adventist Health Portland Foundation — Slavic Community Cancer Needs Assessment and Solutions.
  • Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice — Active Cancer Patient Inquiry for Interest, Need and for End-of-Life Education and Counseling.
  • Komak — Measuring Impacts and Outcomes of Komak's Process of Financial Support During Cancer Treatment.
  • Good Shepherd Health Care System — Colorectal Cancer Screening & Prevention.
  • Oregon School-Based Health Alliance*— Latinx Youth Peer Education for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Prevention.
  • St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church* — Community Cancer Awareness and Healthy Living Symposium - Implement Body & Soul Program.
  • Thadd's Place* — Thadd's Place Cancer Group.

Learn more about the projects funded.

* Project continuations

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