City of Hope established the Center of Community Alliance for Research and Education (CCARE) in 2006. CCARE engages with the community in a symbiotic relationship to co-educate and exchange knowledge and wisdom. CCARE and the community infuse the best scientific practice with socioecologic and cultural relevance to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities among diverse and medically underserved communities. CCARE collaborates with over 100 community partners, encompassing people from more than 300 zip codes through our health education programs. Our work extends City of Hope’s reach to over 20,000 households.
Spearheaded by Founding Director Dr. Kimlin Ashing, Ph.D., CCARE aims to turn the latest scientific knowledge into the most advanced medical services for underserved patients and communities.
Understanding Health Disparities
When faced with life-threatening diseases like cancer, a disproportionate number of ethnic minorities experience poor life expectancy, unfavorable disease outcomes, and mortality. Some of the disparity can be attributed to delayed diagnosis and lack of easy access to the latest treatments. Other considerations include biological and genetic factors. Finally, 60-80 percent of poor outcomes result from lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, inactivity and poor nutrition.
Promoting Community Participation
One of the Center’s primary objectives is to train community peer navigators who can provide improved healthcare access, disease diagnosis and treatment outcomes for ethnic minorities and others living in lower socioeconomic communities.
CCARE’s efforts to inform underserved communities of the cancer-related resources available to them include increased education via community workshops; documentation of the risks present in targeted communities, such as health needs, resource gaps and quality of life issues; and establishment of strong partnerships between the scientific community and members of the underserved population, leading to expansion of minority participation in research.
While partnering with community organizations in these efforts, City of Hope staff members provide time and expertise in other cancer-related areas, such as survivorship, quality of life, treatment, psychosocial concerns and family issues. In addition, City of Hope has created continuing education outreach programs specifically for care providers working with underserved populations.
Facilitating Diversity Inclusion
City of Hope is proud to be at the forefront of innovation in personalized approaches to cancer treatment. While these approaches optimize patient outcomes, positive results depend on community-wide participation. Only when ethnic minorities are properly represented in clinical trials will underserved communities be able to benefit from innovative, personalized treatment.
Since 2010, City of Hope has received funding via the National Cancer Institute's Community Outreach Capacity Through Community Health Educators (CHE) of the National Outreach Network administrative supplement. CHE is housed within CCARE to integrate the CHE program within the community and develop a long-term education and outreach plan in Los Angeles County. This project provides community assessment of cancer control needs and resources, community cancer education, diagnostic and therapeutic care presentations, and screening and early detection services. It also expands the access to and enrollment of underrepresented populations in biospecimen bankings as well as clinical research.
CCARE also works with the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) and has partnered with the NCI's Screen to Save program, which seeks to increase colorectal screening rates in ethnically diverse communities.