The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Community Partnership Program is funding four community-led projects designed to address cancer-related needs of underserved communities across the state.
In the latest cycle, each organization will receive a grant of up to $25,000 to work with Spanish-speaking and African immigrant/refugee communities across Oregon to increase education and awareness about cancer prevention and screening.
Since 2014, the Community Partnership Program has invested more than $6.4 million in 183 projects around the state.
Creating a ‘strong and more connected Oregon’
One of the grantees, an organization called ICG Innovare Communication Group, aims to increase awareness about cancer among Latino adults, ages 35 to 60. With this funding, ICG will create a Spanish and Mesoamerican Indigenous language video series designed to connect the community to culturally relevant health resources.
Verónica Vázquez, founder and manager of the organization, is a community leader with more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and marketing industries. She hosts Elemento Latino, an independent Spanish-language television program, born out of the need for a platform to inform and support the Latino/a/x/e community in accessing resources and navigating systems.
She says the early detection of cancer is important, “especially for Latinos who are less likely to seek preventive medical care.”
“Many of us are fearful of screenings because we don't know how it will impact our health, if they will cause secondary reactions, and the uncertainty of not knowing what we’re getting ourselves into,” Vázquez says. “There are so many myths and misconceptions.”
“We are passionate and committed to creating a stronger and more connected Oregon where our Latino/a/x/e community thrives thanks to accessing information that improves their well-being and quality of life.”
Bringing a ‘cultural lens and holistic approach’ to Somali and Kenyan health
The Center for African Health and Education is another organization receiving funding, to create a workshop series for Kenyan and Somali refugee/immigrant adults, ages 40 to 75, in Multnomah County.
Key goals of the workshop series — which will be created in collaboration with community health workers — are to increase cancer awareness and strengthen connections in the community.
Mohamed Ali is executive director of the center, a volunteer-led organization of African community health workers and community members working to bring a cultural lens and holistic approach to Somali and Kenyan health.
“Our team engages the community from a place of shared experience, and cultural and linguistic specificity,” Ali says. “Three community members who forwent cancer screenings passed away last year. It was really hard for the community and it doesn’t have to be this way. We can create new trends where Somali and Kenyan immigrants and refugees in Portland get access to information and screenings.”
Organizations receiving funding in this special grant cycle include:
- ICG Innovare Communication Group LLC — Education and Health Give Us Life: Spanish Language Cancer Screening Awareness Campaign
- Center for African Health and Education — Cancer Awareness and Prevention for a Healthy and Thriving African Community
- Oregon State University – College of Public Health and Human Sciences — Promoting Colorectal Cancer Screening for Latinx Communities in Linn-Benton County
- Centro de Servicios para Campesinos — Farmworker Cancer Prevention
Learn more about the projects funded.