The role of research has been instrumental in extending cancer survivorship and improving overall cancer care. Despite these advances, African Americans continue to suffer disproportionately from cancer. Research shows that the majority of people with cancer are unaware that clinical trials are an option; given the opportunity, most stated that they would enroll. Fox Chase Cancer Center is committed to improving health care outcomes for the communities it serves by expanding education and outreach efforts focused on cancer prevention, screening, early detection, treatment, and survivorship. Using a community-based intervention, we designed a Community Ambassador Training (CAT) program to develop a cohort of lay community members to engage primarily African American communities in conversations regarding the importance of research participation. We also evaluated the efficacy of the CAT in increasing participants' knowledge regarding clinical trials and biospecimen research and their ability to accurately, disseminate this knowledge. Working through community partners and building on prior research efforts, Community Health Educators (CHE) funded by NCI's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities trained three cohorts of African Americans to become community ambassadors. Thirty-five individuals participated and 19 completed the full training. The seven-week program included didactic teaching that addressed the role of research, the research process, past abuses, and existing laws and regulations. The program also included interactive exercises that empowered participants to feel comfortable sharing information with other community members. Results from the study show that following completion of the program, there was a notable increase in participants' knowledge and comfort with discussing cancer research with others. During our session, we will share our approach, methods, activities, lessons learned, challenges, and next steps.
Citation Format: Armenta Washington, Evelyn T. Gonzalez, Rosa Ortiz. Let's talk research: Community ambassadors engaging African Americans [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Eleventh AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2018 Nov 2-5; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(6 Suppl):Abstract nr A035.