Community Outreach and Engagement has been a fundamental activity of National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Centers since the initiation of the Cancer Centers program in 1971.
However, in an effort to ensure that cancer centers are closely tied to the communities they serve, NCI reinforced expectations that NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers will integrate community-focused cancer priorities in all Center research programs, including basic, translational, clinical, and population sciences, through Community Outreach and Engagement programmatic initiatives
The aims of the program's efforts are:
- To assess and define the cancer burden and priorities of the community served by the cancer center (termed catchment area), which for Winship, is the entire state of Georgia.
- To communicate, facilitate, and promote the integration of these priorities in cancer research within Emory and through bi-directional exchange of ideas with community partners, patients, and stakeholders.
- To disseminate evidence-based interventions and promote policy impact and translation to catchment area, nationally and globally.
To fulfill our commitment to foster community-engaged research and disseminate best practices to reduce the cancer burden in Georgia, the Community Outreach and Engagement program:
- Engages with key stakeholders, including researchers, healthcare providers, educators, community members, advocates, and our Community Advisory Board for input, advice, and guidance
- Supports and facilitates Community-Academic Partnerships through community-engaged research
- Disseminates evidence-based interventions and programs that promote healthy lifestyles, increase screening and early detection, or improve access to clinical trials
- Advocates for Public Policy and promotes systemic changes that advance healthy equity and cancer prevention and control in Georgia
As Georgia's sole NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our catchment area is the entire state of Georgia, comprised of 159 counties that are home to more than 10.62 million residents.
The Winship Community Outreach and Engagement program has conducted a comprehensive assessment of the cancer burden throughout the state of Georgia, including excess cancer cases and deaths; cancers associated with risk factors such as obesity and tobacco use; rates of adherence to evidence-based interventions that reduce cancer risk (e.g., HPV vaccination) or detect cancer early (e.g., lung cancer screening), and highlight the needs of special populations in Georgia, including those living in rural areas, and people living with HIV.
The following data highlights the state's cancer burden and Winship's priorities for cancer prevention, research and control.
Community Engaged Research
Engaging the community in all types and phases of cancer research brings important societal issues and the lived experience of Georgians to the forefront, informing scientists in ways that lead to studies that are more responsive to the needs of Georgia communities. Engaging community members as partners in research helps foster a collaborative and ethical foundation for scientific discovery and therefore is a high priority for Winship.
Resource guide for researchers and community-based organizations
This resource guide, developed by the Winship Community Outreach and Engagement program, is designed for researchers and community organizations that are considering entering into a research partnership, but have little or no experience in community-engaged research. The information provided serves as a starting point for developing a foundation for strong community/academic partnerships to support high quality research that benefits both the researcher and the community.
Regional Cancer Coalitions of Georgia
The Regional Cancer Coalitions of Georgia serve as gateways to cancer prevention and control resources. Based in Albany, Athens, Columbus, Macon, and Rome, these non-profit community organizations work hand in hand to provide cancer prevention, screening, and care coordination services throughout Georgia, with a special emphasis on rural and other underserved communities. Visit their website to learn more about the Regional Cancer Coalition serving your area.
Here we provide access to a number of resources that may be useful to researchers, program planners, healthcare professionals and their patients and caregivers including:
- Data sources of national, state and county data for use in program planning and evaluation.
- Evidence-based interventions and implementation science tools.
- Guides to community engaged research.
- Educational materials for patients and survivors.
- Georgia statewide cancer control, research and advocacy collaboratives.
Community Advisory Board
The Community Outreach and Engagement program's Community Advisory Board, chaired by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, has as its primary role to advise program leadership on the cancer-related needs of Georgians and provide input on Winship's research agenda from the perspective of the community. The 20-member advisory board consists of community leaders and stakeholders represent the state of Georgia.
Georgia Cancer Summit
The 2023 Georgia Cancer Summit held on January 31 with the theme, Advancing Cancer Health Equity through Innovation and Partnerships, brought together more than 125 public health professionals, health care providers, health advocates, researchers, and community organizations involved in community-engaged cancer research, control and prevention from across the state of Georgia.
The Georgia Cancer Summit was co-hosted by Winship Cancer Institute, Georgia Cancer Control Consortium, Georgia CORE, and the Georgia Department of Public Health. Partners in this effort include the American Cancer Society, Georgia Cancer Center, Georgia Rural Health Association, Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center, Regional Cancer Coalitions of Georgia, Phoebe Cancer Center, and the Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion.
Several speaker presentations are available below:
- What the Data Tells Use
Rana Bayakly, MPH, Chief Epidemiologist, Chronic Disease, Georgia Department of Public Health
- Achieving Health Equity: The Opportunity and the Mandate
Renee Branch Canady, PhD, MPA, Chief Executive Officer, MPHI
- Neighborhood Deprivation and Breast Cancer Mortality
Lauren McCullough, PhD, Associate Professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
- 20 Years of Progress and Innovation in Comprehensive Cancer Control
Chris Parker, MPH, MBBS, Director, Global and Population Health, Georgia Health Policy CenterSeveral speaker presentations are available below.
Follow us on social media
The Community Outreach and Engagement program provides information and resources for the community via social media. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
To request a service or consultation, please complete our online interest form. You will be contacted by a member of our team shortly after submitting this form.
Theresa W. Gillespie, PhD, MA, BSN, FAAN
Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Dr. Gillespie provides vision and oversight for Winship's community-facing activities through its Community Outreach and Engagement program.
Denise Ballard, MEd
Program Director, Community Outreach and Engagement
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Ms. Ballard facilitates community-engaged research and outreach activities for Winship Cancer Institute.