The Deep South Network for Cancer Control (DSN), a multistate partnership comprised of academic and community partners used community-based participatory approaches to recruit and train volunteer Community Health Advisors trained as Research Partners (CHARPs) to develop a community action plan to address cancer and other health disparities among African Americans.

DSN is 1 of 25 NCI Community Network Programs funded to further reduce cancer health disparities through community-based participatory education, training, and research among racial/ethnic minorities and underserved populations.

This presentation discusses the utilization of the Community Health Advisors model for cancer prevention and control; illustrate capacity building of underserved minorities members; and development and implementation of a Community Action Plan (CAP) to improve cancer screening. Also, the presentation illustrates CBPR applied to develop a multi-level (CAP) focusing on individuals, organizational systems, and agents of change to reduce cancer health disparities between African American and white women in targeted counties in Alabama and Mississippi. Principles derived from Community-Based Participatory Approach (CBPA), the Empowerment Model, and the Community Health Advisor Model, were used as guiding frameworks to develop a multilevel CAP in this network. Using a community based participatory approach, Discussion Groups were held in each of the targeted communities comprised of CHARPS, health care providers, educators, members from the faith community and others to assess the assets and needs of the community regarding health and cancer disparities. The Empowerment Model was our conceptual framework; it provided a map for recruiting and maintaining a broad-based partnership of community volunteers, leaders, and other partners who played an instrumental role in the development and implementation of the CAP. Building on DSN's previous community experience, we continued to use the Community Health Advisor (CHA) model as it builds on the strengths of a community by enlisting the assistance of natural helpers.

Summary: More than 550 volunteer CHARPs and 250 local Community Network Partners were recruited and trained to assist with the development and implementation of a CAP aimed to address cancer health disparities in African American communities in the Deep South. Working Groups were developed based on 4 major themes from the Discussion Groups that selected 4 major interventions for cancer disparities in the African American communities: 1) nutrition, 2) physical activity, 3) community cancer awareness education for breast, cervix and colorectal cancer; and 4) advocacy/heath policy.

Publications are being written regarding the process and outcomes of a CBPRA to developing and implementing a CAP for cancer disparities. Conclusion: the development of a community-academic partnership as an effective means by which to address cancer burden in disparate African American communities. The development of a multi-level CAP demonstrates the ability of the community and academic partners’ ability to work together as “equal partners” addressing health disparities.

Citation Information: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2010;19(10 Suppl):B3.