The KCHA – Komen Community Health Advisors (K-CHA) grant builds upon the DSN infrastructure through the utilization of a Community Health Advisors model as a means to provide breast cancer education by for recruitment, training and maintenance of grass roots African Americans to serve as Komen Community Health Advisors (K-CHAs). Particular emphasis is placed upon the maintenance of these K-CHAs for retention and sustainability. This grant takes place in 5 of the DSN Alabama counties in the North Central Alabama Affiliate of Susan G. Komen : urban Jefferson County, Black Counties: Greene, Hale, Sumter, and Perry.
The K-CHA program has been funded by Susan G. Komen North Central Alabama Affiliate for over 4 years with funding ranging from $34,000 – $60,000 annually. The KCHA program provides additional capacity-building of the CHARPs in these areas through Mini Institutes and Monthly Maintenance supports. In addition, the grants provide culturally tailored, targeted programs for African Americans through community-based educational programs that target faith-based organizations with programs like “Pink Sundays.” This grant also provides some transportation assistance for to get breast cancer screening and treatments services from health care facilities.
Community Health Advisors and Training (CHAT), Dr. Yu-Mei Schoenberger, Project Leader
The emergence of technology has increased access to information essential to empowering people to lead healthy lives. Recent studies have shown that mobile phone short message service (SMS) or text messaging can be an effective health communication strategy that influences individuals’ health-related decisions, behaviors, and outcomes. The Deep South Network (DSN) for Cancer Control has developed a successful approach for improving the health of African Americans by incorporating Community Health Advisors as Research Partners (CHARPs) in health promotion activities. This has been effective because CHARPs provide culturally appropriate, informal, and spontaneous assistance to community members. Another promising approach in changing health behaviors is the development of health promotion programs (e.g. smoking cessation, physical activity, weight management) that use the SMS function of the mobile phone. To date, a combination approach that provides SMS technology to community health advisors for accessing cancer-related information has not been attempted. Thus, in response to the “PAR-09-003: Small Grants for Behavioral Research in Cancer Control (R03)”, we propose a pilot study to develop, implement, and evaluate the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of a program that uses community health advisors and mobile phone technology to access and deliver cancer health information.
Sixteen CHARPs participated in focus groups projects implemented in Dallas and Lowndes counties.
Minority Bio-Specimen/Bio-Banking Geographic Management Program (BMAP)
The aims of the pilot project is to unite CHD researchers, communities, and organizations through enhanced collaboration, cooperation, and capacity building to advance CHD bio-specimen research and training, as well as to gain insights to adapt region-based research and training strategies to enhance inclusion of underrepresented groups in specimen collection.