Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is lower in Appalachian regions of Kentucky and Ohio than in their non-Appalachian counterparts, with lower screening contributing to increased CRC incidence and mortality. To address CRC disparities in these underserved regions, researchers from the University of Kentucky and The Ohio State University partnered with two federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to develop and implement multilevel interventions (MLIs) during year one of a 5-year National Cancer Institute funded Cancer Moonshot project to increase CRC screening and follow-up in Appalachian Kentucky and Ohio. Methods: Drawing from the Model for the Analysis of Population Health and Health Disparities and using a social determinants of health framework, researchers selected and partnered with Community Advisory Boards (CAB) to guide project formation in two Appalachian counties, one in Kentucky and one in Ohio. These formative activities included creating community profiles, conducting key informant interviews with clinic and community champions, and completing data inventories to assess clinic capacity, ultimately resulting in two primary care clinics being selected for pilot year implementation activities. Results: Key informant interviews revealed barriers to CRC screening at multiple levels: patient (e.g., fear of screening results), provider (e.g., competing priorities), clinic (e.g., lack of reminder or tracking systems), and community (e.g., cultural norms). Clinic champions were provided with menus of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to address barriers at each level and were encouraged to select locally relevant, implementable EBIs. Clinics chose to implement the following EBIs: improved patient education materials (patient-level), additional provider education (provider-level), improvement of electronic health record (EHR) reporting and creation of clinic-wide screening protocols (clinic-level), and provision of interactive screening education at community events (community- level). Conclusion: Results from pilot year activities were used to refine the project approach for years two through five. Project activities will be expanded to 10 more Appalachian counties in Kentucky and Ohio using a design wherein counties will be paired by participating clinic patient volume. As in pilot year activities, clinic/community champions will be encouraged to select EBIs appropriate to their patients, providers, clinics, and communities. To measure clinical outcomes, self- reported screening will be monitored using data from county-wide telephone surveys with additional data from clinic EHRs. Using an MLI approach may be well- received in underserved rural Appalachian communities and may ultimately be successful at reducing CRC screening disparities.

Citation Format: Aaron J. Kruse-Diehr, Jill M. Oliveri, Mira L. Katz, Mark Cromo, Robin C. Vanderpool, Michael L. Pennell, Darrell M. Gray II, Paul L. Reiter, Bin Huang, Gregory S. Young, Darla Fickle, Melinda Rogers, David Gross, Sue Russell, Electra D. Paskett, Mark Dignan. Increasing colorectal cancer screening in rural underserved communities with multilevel interventions: Formative evaluation of accelerating colorectal cancer screening and follow-up through implementation science in Appalachia [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Virtual Conference: Thirteenth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2020 Oct 2-4. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(12 Suppl):Abstract nr PO-253.