Community Outreach and Engagement

The Community Outreach and Engagement program promotes and facilitates community-facing research and activities for Winship Cancer Institute through programmatic initiatives across the state of Georgia.

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 (COE) programmatic initiatives

The aims of the COE 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, and to communicate, facilitate, and promote the integration of these priorities in cancer research within Emory and through community-engaged research throughout Georgia;
  • To disseminate evidence-based interventions to reduce the cancer burden in Georgia, such as proven methods for cancer prevention and screening.

Program Focus

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

Catchment Area Priorities

Winship Cancer Institute serves the entire state of Georgia, known as its "catchment area." 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.

Community Advisory Board

The Community Outreach and Engagement program's Community Advisory Board (CAB), chaired by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, has as its primary role to advise the COE 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 CAB consists of community leaders and stakeholders represent the state of Georgia.

Georgia Cancer Summit

The Georgia Cancer Summit on January 21, 2022, will bring together public health professionals, health care providers, health advocates, researchers, and community organizations involved in community engaged cancer research, prevention, and control efforts across the state. This free virtual meeting is designed to:

  • Broaden your knowledge of evidence based programs for cancer prevention and control.
  • Share information on advocacy and other efforts to reduce cancer disparities in Georgia.
  • Provide opportunities to network and develop new partnerships for community engaged research and dissemination of effective programs.

The Georgia Cancer Summit is offered free of charge by Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Georgia Cancer Control Consortium, Georgia CORE and the Georgia Department of Public Health, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center, and Morehouse School of Medicine. Be on the lookout for registration information soon.

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.


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