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OHSU Knight Cancer Institute helps address cancer-related needs across Oregon

Institute funds 11 local efforts, including teen tobacco cessation program, work to prevent cancer through health literacy, assessment of food insecurity
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Several Tillamook County Community Health Center staff at an information booth, posing. Tillamook County Community Health Center and Public Health staff provides services in the community. (Courtesy) 
Tillamook County Community Health Center and Public Health staff provides services in the community. (Courtesy) 

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Community Partnership Program has funded 11 community-led projects to address cancer-related needs of communities across the state.

Each funded organization will receive a grant of between $15,000 and $60,000 to work with communities across Oregon to address cancer-related needs, from prevention to survivorship.

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

“We’re particularly proud that we have a few new projects located on the Oregon Coast,” says Jackie Shannon, Ph.D., co-director of the Community Partnership Program and associate director of community outreach and engagement at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “We’re eager to ensure these important cancer-related projects reach every area of our state.”

Since 2014, the Community Partnership Program has invested nearly $7.3 million in 205 projects around Oregon, says Shannon, a professor in the Division of Oncological Sciences in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Addressing the high rate of nicotine use in schools

Belinda Ballah
Belinda Ballah (Courtesy)

Belinda Ballah is the director of the Hood River County Prevention Department. She says the department became alarmed at the high rate of youth nicotine use in schools, primarily through vaping. They plan to use this funding to partner with the school district in providing an educational program at the middle school level. 

“2022 data show the Hood River County School District middle school vaping rate is 8.9%, more than double the national rate of 3.3%,” Ballah says. “We believe that by increasing the educational cessation opportunities we are benefiting both the short- and long-term health outlook for our youth. We are increasing the odds youth can ‘kick the habit’ and choose a healthier lifestyle.”

Preventing cancer through health literacy

The mission of the Tillamook County Health Department is to “promote and protect the health of all people in Tillamook County.” The department submitted a proposal to the Community Partnership Program to develop health literacy materials in English and Spanish to address cancer health disparities in Tillamook County. 

Rockie Phillips
Rockie Phillips, R.N., B.S.N. (Courtesy)

Tillamook County Public Health Deputy Director Rockie Phillips, RN, B.S.N., says the goal of their project is to empower people. “By empowering people, and by having materials in multiple languages, we want them to be in the driver’s seat to make important choices about their health,” she says.

Phillips says they look forward to working with Tillamook County Wellness’ Access to Care Committee partners to develop and distribute a health literacy program for all people in Tillamook County, with a special focus on early detection of cancer, including information about available cancer screenings.

Funding projects across Oregon

Organizations receiving funding in this grant cycle include:

  • Adventist Health Portland: East African Community Cancer Needs Assessment and Solutions.
  • Oregon School-Based Health Alliance: Assessing Food Insecurity and Cancer Awareness Among Youth through School-Based Health Center.
  • Adventist Health Columbia Gorge: Family Caregiver Distress Identification Process.
  • Silver Years: Raising Cancer Awareness Among Immigrants and Refugees from the former Soviet Union.
  • Tillamook County Health Department: Preventing Cancer Through Health Literacy.
  • Centro de Servicios para Campesinos: Continuation of Farmworker Cancer Prevention Project Addressing Access to OHP/Healthcare Providers.
  • Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice: Educational Outreach to Hispanic Cancer Patients in Jackson and Josephine County.
  • Coos Health Initiatives: Coos Fights Cancer.
  • Hood River County Prevention Department: Continuation of Teen Tobacco Cessation and Education Project to Address a New Youth Population.
  • Northwest Sarcoma Foundation: United Sarcoma Community.  
  • 2Live2Cure: Road to Recovery Oncology Service Center: Providing non-medical resource needs to rural cancer patients.

Click here to learn more about the projects funded.

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