The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions Department of Epidemiology is increasing diversity of the participant pool for cancer research studies, and tracking all activity to describe outcomes.
The Cancer Research Engagement Program is conducted through HealthStreet, a community engagement model that seeks to reduce health care disparities and improve access to research studies among people who are medically underserved by meeting residents out in the community and linking them to services and research opportunities.
HealthStreet is led by Dr. Linda Cottler, chair of theDepartment of Epidemiology and PHHP’s associate dean for research and planning, and co-director Dr. Catherine Striley, an assistant professor in the department. The HealthStreet cohort has more than 8,500 community members from throughout northeast Florida who are each assessed for health needs, concerns and research perceptions.
Under the Cancer Research Engagement Program, HealthStreet is facilitating navigations and enrollments to UF Health Cancer Center studies, improving cancer research to make it more person-centered, increasing diversity of research participants in cancer trials, and pilot testing an intervention to assess its effect on enrollment and retention. To date, 208 people have been recruited and 44 enrolled into various cancer studies, with 46 percent representing minorities. The program is currently working on activities for improving adherence of recommended cancer screenings by educating community members and removing barriers to access.
The Cancer Research Engagement Program is directed by Ms. Cheri Knecht and supported by the UF Health Cancer Center.
In addition, HealthStreet will host the 12th national Our Community Our Health town hall event on February 21 titled, “HPV Vaccine: Taking a Shot at Preventing Cancer.” The event will be held live at HealthStreet in Gainesville, Florida, shared through the Clinical and Translational Science Award Community Engagement Network, and can be viewed via livestream.
Panelists include HPV researchers Dr. Versie Johnson-Mallard of the UF College of Nursing and Dr. Stephanie Staras of the UF College of Medicine.
“This forum provides a great opportunity to contribute to knowledge development of our community stakeholders about the importance of vaccine compliance,” Dr. Johnson-Mallard said. “HealthStreet is the perfect venue to spark and ignite parents, children and community stakeholders of the availability of cancer prevention vaccines.”