Center News

Thompson receives HHS grant to reduce cancer disparities in Hispanic community

June 16, 2005

Dr. Beti Thompson, principal investigator, Public Health Sciences Division, is the recipient of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) grant for the creation of the Hispanic Community Network program. The award, announced by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, is part of a total of $95 million for Community Networks Programs (CNP) nationwide. Developed by HHS' National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, the aim of the CNP initiative is to reduce cancer disparities through community participation in education, research and training.

"Our commitment to closing the health-care gap among racial and ethnic minorities is unwavering," Leavitt said. "We will continue to support community-based approaches to help racial and ethnic minority populations experience the benefits of modern medicine."

Thompson said this support will help build community infrastructure to combat cancer in Yakima Valley's underserved Hispanic population. "Hispanics in the Yakima Valley have lower rate of cancer screening than non-Hispanic Whites. This means that the disease is often caught at later stages. This grant will enable us to work with communities to identify the best ways to reach Hispanics in the Valley and reduce some of the disparities," she said.

Up to 25 grantees, including Thompson, will develop programs to increase the use of cancer interventions in communities and populations experiencing a disproportionate share of the cancer burden. Interventions will include proven approaches including smoking cessation, increasing healthy eating and physical activity, and early detection and treatment of breast, cervical and colorectal cancers.

Each CNP will put together an advisory group that will serve as the "voice of the community." These advisory groups will work with local community members to gather information and then deliver back results. A steering committee of community-based leaders, researchers, clinicians and public health professionals will provide additional support.

The CNP builds on advances from a previous initiative called the Special Population Networks program. It will be administered through individual cooperative agreements between NCI and the CNP grantees and will be directed by NCI's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.

For additional information about the Community Networks Program and the grantees, go to: http://crchd.nci.nih.gov.

For information on RFP's and grant opportunities that focus on special populations, contact Winona Hollins Hauge at whauge@fhcrc.org.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.