Wheel of Hope Native American health conference Aug. 23-24

Fifth annual conference will focus on cancer screening, treatment and survivorship resources and services

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will host the fifth annual Community Health Representative Wheel of Hope Conference Thursday, Aug. 23-24. The conference will provide continued education for more than 30 Native American Community Health Representatives from across Washington.

Kathy Briant
Kathy Briant of Thompson Studies in the Public Health Division also serves as Community Health educator with the National Cancer Institute's National Outreach Network. Photo by Stefanie Felix

"Community Health Representatives are highly trained tribal or Native community-based, health care providers who may include traditional Native concepts in their medical work and who usually receive funding through the Indian Health Service," said Kathy Briant, of Thompson Studies in the Public Health Sciences Division.

Importance of Wheel of Hope

In the Northwest, cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Compared to non-Hispanic whites, AI/ANs disproportionately suffer from screenable cancers (breast, cervix, colon and rectum), which are typically diagnosed at later stages.

"Since CHRs serve as a primary contact and play an important role in advocating for and navigating AI/AN community members to cancer screening, and treatment and survivorship resources and services, this training will provide information of use to them and the patients they serve," said Briant, who serves as Community Health educator with the National Cancer Institute's National Outreach Network.

In addition to Briant, conference organizers include Heidi Harbach, project coordinator for the Center’s Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Programs grant and the Health Disparities Research Center; and Alphonso Emery, director of Patient Accounting and director of the Diversity Program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Emery assembled a panel of SCCA speakers who will address patient experiences and provide information about social and support services and patient navigation available at SCCA.  Kim Wells, chair of the Center’s Diversity Council, will welcome the attendees at the beginning of the conference.

Waiting list to attend

The conference will take place in the Arnold Building’s M1 suites on Aug. 23 and the Thomas Building’s Sze conference room on Aug. 24. Registration is full, but anyone interested in attending, may contact Briant at (206) 667-1137 or kbriant@fhcrc.org to be put on a waiting list.

Funding support

The conference is funded by Cancer Lifeline and supported by the Hutchinson Center’s Health Disparities Research Center, as well as the NCI’s Geographic Management of Programs Region 6 grant and Community Networks Program Centers, our Center for Community Health Promotion, and University of Washington’s Native People for Cancer Control.

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