14 U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R

ing counties had begun recruiting participants. Over the length of the study, 400 women will be recruited and enrolled.

Next Steps Before the end of the five-year grant, Dr. Baskin will

begin looking at other funding mechanisms to sustain the program. The Journey to Better Health program, however, is an example of the DSN s shift to becoming more research-focused instead of awareness-focused.

The first five years of the DSN were devoted to developing community partnerships, and the next five

years were geared to leveraging those relationships to do community-level outreach and awareness, Dr. Baskin says. Those things more clearly fit with what the community members saw in promoting cancer health disparities: educating residents and helping them get screenings and treatment when necessary. The NCI now wants us to conduct more randomized trials to advance the science, which is very different from what our community partners are used to. We want to stay true to the relationships we ve had for the last 10 years, so we ve had to help them understand the difference between outreach and research.

As a spin-off of the Journey to Better Health project, Dr. Baskin has recently been funded by the NCI to conduct a similar study focused solely on cancer survivors in nine Black Belt counties. This study will enroll both men and women and will involve three cancers: colorectal, breast and prostate. The idea is the same as the Journey to Better Health promoting healthier lifestyles, weight loss and weight-loss maintenance to improve quality of life.

Regardless, a key aspect of these stud- ies along with everything the DSN does is gaining the involvement and participation of the community members. The partnership forces us to realize that we know the things that are supposed to work, but our community partners know a tremendous amount about what can really work in the communities, Dr. Baskin says. It s refreshing to have a true partnership where we re all coming to the table for the same common goal. We think that model is the only one that makes sense in terms of moving things from the academic shelves to actually being on the ground in the communities where it can really make a dif- ference.

Monica Baskin,

Ph.D., has

recently been

funded by the

NCI to conduct

a similar study

focused solely

on cancer

survivors in

nine Black Belt

counties.

continued from page 13

outreach for health