Community Network Program

A collaboration between UAB, University of Southern Mississippi, and The University of Alabama. The overall purpose of the CNP DSN was to build on our already established community and institutional capacity in order to eliminate cancer health disparities by conducting community-based participatory education, training and research.  The goals of the DSN were to improve access to and utilization of proven beneficial cancer interventions and to develop a cadre of well-trained researchers who continued to address reduction/elimination of cancer disparities.

Accomplishments of the CNP include:

1) Expanded our capacity by recruiting and training new CHARPs, organizational representatives, and agents of change. Through this expansion of capacity, we trained and re-trained more than 555 CHARPs and 252 local partners and developed 22 Community Network Partnerships in our targeted communities. The CNPs included CHARPs, community-based organization leaders, and agents of change.

2) Through the WALK! Feel Alive physical activity program we enrolled 216 teams with 1,865 registered participants in all 22 counties. We retained 61% of the sample at 12 months and 51% at 24 months. Approximately 90% (87%) of participants were females and 94.7% were African Americans. The average age was 48.7 years.

3) Cancer awareness education: An additional 654 cancer awareness activities were implemented in 22 counties; more than 57,800 individuals were reached by these activities. Cancer screening awareness messages were incorporated among walkers in addition to other health messages, such as healthy eating. Significant improvements were observed between baseline and 12-month follow-up among participants on the following variables (p<.01): frequency of physical activity, consumption of fruit and vegetables, breast/cervical/colorectal cancer screening, as well as engagement in regular breast self-exam.

4) We implemented the Body and Soul program in 59 churches in the targeted counties. Baseline and 12-month follow-up showed aggregate increases in servings of fruit and vegetables among congregants, which was the focus of the program.

5) A number of Direct Action Organizing activities (17) were implemented, ranging from support of tobacco control legislation at the municipal level to advocating for increased funding for the Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection program.

Overall Impact: Our greatest impact has been on mammography rates among Medicare recipients, with a major reduction in disparities between AAs and whites. In Alabama, the average disparity between AAs and whites was 16% in 1997/98. As of 2006/08, the disparity has been eliminated. Furthermore, in 4 of the 12 counties the screening rates were higher in AAs than in whites. Similarly, over the same period in Mississippi, the disparity was reduced from 11% to 2.7%, with 3 of the 10 counties having higher screening rates in African American’s than in Whites.

Pilot Project (May 2010) 

Alternative Tobacco Product Use among African American Males.

Project Leader: William Carroll Co-Investigators: Isabel Scarinci, Russell Foushee

Aims of Project

  1. To measure prevalence of use of nine tobacco products among males age 19-30 in five counties of the Black Belt region.
  2. To determine sociocultural factors influencing tobacco product use.
  3. To validate findings with community members and initiate the design of a culturally relevant intervention project.

DSN Diversity Supplement

DSN received funding for a Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research support for Monica L. Baskin. This project utilizes the DSN infrastructure that includes community engagement, local staff support, introduction to community partners and a cadre of other invaluable resources that help to make these projects successful while providing meaningful research training for these junior investigators. Dr. Partridge (CNP PI) serves as mentor to the Dr. Baskin.

Healthy Communities: Measuring Access to Healthy foods and fitness in Dallas County, AL,

Monica Baskin, PhD – Project Leader

Goal: Reduce cancer disparities through environmental and policy interventions to promote healthy eating and regular physical activity.

Aims: (1) Measure aspects of the food and physical activity environments associated with maintaining a healthy lifestyle; (2) Generate potential environmental and policy interventions to promote healthy lifestyles; (3) Advocate for change in local environments/policies based on findings from Aims 1 & 2.

Training Program

There were 5 Health Disparities Research Training Program Scholars.

Administrative Supplements

There were 2 Administrative Supplements that included a partnership that took DSN staff to Zambia, Africa to learn about cervical cancer screening and their community health program. The second was a project that conducted cervical cancer and HPV screening in the Mississippi Delta.