Researchers from the University of South Carolina were instrumental in producing a supplement for Progress in Community Health Partnerships that reflects some of the work done by the 23 National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Community Networks Program Centers (CNPCs) located across the country. The USC team joined this endeavor through the Arnold School of Public Health’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program (CPCP) 10 years ago, creating what is now known as the South Carolina Cancer Disparities Community Network (SCCDCN).
Over the last decade of funding, SCCDCN team members have emerged as leaders among the CNPCs in both the pursuit of the program goals (i.e., working closely with the local community to identify cancer disparity problems and develop culturally sensitive interventions) and the dissemination of lessons learned from these efforts. CPCP Director Dr. James Hébert, who is also the principal investigator of the SCCDCN and Health Sciences Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology, serves as the chair for the CNPC’s Publications and Presentations Committee.
It was through this committee that this special issue was created, as was a previous special focus issue of the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. “Because we are focused on community-based participatory research, or CBPR, I thought it would be good to do a special issue in Progress in Community Health Partnerships,” Hébert says. He and his committee colleagues coordinated the call for paper ideas and five of them (including Hébert) served as guest editors.
Dr. Hébert, along with Dr. Daniela Friedman and Dr. Heather Brandt (health promotion, education, and behavior), Dr. Jim Burch (epidemiology and biostatistics), Dr. Tisha Felder (nursing), Dr. Cheryl Armstead (psychology) and Dr. Tommy Coggins (Office of Research Compliance), contributed to five of the nine papers in the supplement. The team’s articles include an editorial on the value of CBPR, lessons learned from the overall Community Networks Program (CNP) initiative (that was funded in the previous cycle, from 2005-2010), ethical responsibility considerations when dealing with communities, the role of stress in cancer disparate populations, and mentoring and training experiences of students and junior faculty engaged in CBPR.
With contributions from numerous CNP collaborators, the paper on the CNP (the program preceding the current CNCP) provides an important component for the supplement by sharing lessons learned from throughout the U.S. from the CNPs conducted in 2005-2010. “Our results showed tremendous value in investing in community-academic partnerships and CBPR to address cancer-related health disparities,” says Dr. Brandt. “This was true across all 25 Community Networks Programs, which had very different target populations, used multiple methods, and were implemented nationally, regionally and locally.” Of the 25 original CNPs 16, including SCCDCN, were funded as CNPCs from 2010 to 2015.