Reducing cancer disparities in the Yakima Valley is the focus of a $4.29M five-year federal grant to the Hutchinson Center

Ongoing Hispanic health promotion project will expand to serve Franklin County

SEATTLE — Nov. 2, 2010 — The National Cancer Institute, the government’s lead agency for cancer research, has awarded Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center a $4.29 million, five-year grant to extend ongoing research aimed at reducing cancer disparities among Hispanics in the Yakima Valley.

This grant, part of the NCI’s Community Networks Program, funds the Center for Hispanic Health Promotion: Reducing Cancer Disparities. The grant builds on five years of previous $2.48 million in federal funding and will allow the Hutchinson Center to expand its cancer prevention efforts to serve residents of Franklin County.

Launched in spring 2005, the NCI Community Networks Program aims to reduce and eliminate cancer disparities through community-based research, education and training. The goal is to significantly improve access to and use of beneficial cancer interventions in communities experiencing disparities.

“To achieve this goal, we have been working closely with multiple community agencies and organizations in the Yakima Valley to develop and implement effective ways to reduce cancer health disparities experienced by Hispanics living in this rural part of Eastern Washington,” said Beti Thompson, Ph.D., principal investigator on the grant and a member of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division.

During the last five years, the Hutchinson Center Community Networks Program, which is based in a field office in Sunnyside, has built an infrastructure of community partners to promote cancer awareness and education in the Yakima Valley. Achievements have included establishing a system to recruit minority students to work on cancer prevention projects and developing community-based research projects to address specific cancer disparities among the Hispanic communities of the Yakima Valley.

“In the past five years our staff has reached more than 25,000 community members through more than 3,500 community education activities,” said Ilda Islas, field operations supervisor for the Sunnyside office. “We also awarded 10 mini grants to fund community-developed cancer prevention projects,” she said. In addition, five junior investigators received training and more than 20 high school students and undergraduates participated as interns and research assistants.

The new Community Networks Program grant will advance the progress made during the last five years in the following key areas:

• A randomized clinical trial will assess two different approaches to motivate women to receive cervical cancer screening and assess the use of patient navigators to reduce follow-up time after an abnormal Pap test result.
• A pilot project will aim to address community requests for culturally specific support for cancer survivors.
• A community outreach component will conduct a needs assessment and work with the community to develop an education and outreach plan.
• A training core will help train a new generation of scientists in community-based participatory and scientific research.

The Hutchinson Center will continue to work with a local community advisory board on this project. The 25-member advisory board works with Hutchinson Center staff on all aspects of the project, including identifying questions for surveys, developing and implementing intervention strategies, resolving challenging issues and planning for the dissemination of information throughout the community.


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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Kristen Woodward
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-5095