UVA Cancer Center Takes Action Against Cancer Disparities

Community outreach, engagement, and partnership programs are breaking down barriers to health equity in Virginia.

This summer, our Population Health and Community Outreach and Events teams increased their efforts to address disparities in cancer risks across the commonwealth, particularly in places where our data show that socio-economics, race, and culture determine the likelihood of developing, successfully treating, and surviving breast, cervical, colon, lung, and other cancers. The contributing factors include higher obesity and tobacco use rates and barriers to early detection and diagnosis. To target these factors, UVA Cancer Center has partnered with local and regional community-based organizations through outreach, education, and grant programs in collaborative, inclusive, and culturally sensitive ways. Here are a few recent examples:

  • In recognition of receiving the National Cancer Institute’s “Comprehensive Cancer Center” designation earlier this year, UVA Cancer Center announced a Community Grants program to award up to $10,000 to nonprofits, local governments, hospitals, or other community groups addressing cancer-related health disparities.
  • In Charlottesville, the team recently completed another season of Walks with Heart—an outreach program that encourages community members to increase their physical activity by getting together to walk through neighborhoods, explore parks, and spend time outdoors.
  • Based on the success of a pilot program, UVA Cancer Center announced an expanded partnership with the Community Health Center of the New River Valley to increase colorectal cancer screening rates. The partners’ long-term goal is to leverage their research from this program to increase screenings and, thus, early detection of other cancers.
  • Our Cancer Prevention and Control team is helping to reduce obesity in Southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia through iSIPsmarter—a web-based program developed by UVA School of Medicine researchers that targets sugary drink consumption.

These are just some of the Cancer Center's many efforts toward fostering health equity in our region, controlling and preventing cancer, and ensuring that every community member has the best chance for early diagnosis, successful treatment, and survivorship. Learn more about these efforts in our recent Q&A with Wendy Cohn,PhD, Associate Director of Community Outreach & Engagement and a faculty member in Public Health Sciences.

Help transform the future of healthcare by making your gift to UVA Cancer Center or contacting Corley Raileanu at 434.243.3480 or corley@virginia.edu.