People who live and work in each community make the Deep South Network a success. In fact, local volunteers – the natural leaders and helpers in each area- are in charge of spreading the word about cancer.
The network identifies these volunteers and work closely to train them to become community health advisors trained as research partners (CHARPs). Once they have learned about cancer and the local resources available to detect and treat it, these new CHARPs and community network partners (CNPs) learn how to share what they know with their communities. It is an effective strategy; since families, friends, and neighbors trust the CHARPs and respond better to someone they know.
The network uses the community based participatory approach (CBPR) to promote cancer education and research. The CHARPs play a key role in advancing cancer care as research partners. By working closely with the Deep South Network’s investigators, the CHARPs keep their communities informed about the most recent and promising developments in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. They also provide valuable feedback to the network’s medical experts, helping to develop, implement, and evaluate a multi-level participatory research and education program to reduce cancer health disparities.