A Comprehensive Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Community Engagement Programs

The UCCCC's Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Disparities (OCECD) is expanding efforts to serve local communities through research, education, advocacy, and outreach. This is being accomplished through strategic partnerships with various organizations within UChicago, as well as with community-based and faith-based organizations. During fiscal year 2011, the OCECD visited more than 7,000 people at 36 community events.

The UCCCC is committed to understanding the unique needs and attitudes of its neighbors and to creating innovative programs to serve those needs. The OCECD helps fulfill this mission through its many outreach programs.

Innovative Programs

  • Chicago Southside Cancer Disparities Initiative (CSCDI) is a four-year National Cancer Institute P20 grant awarded to the UCCCC, in partnership with Chicago State University (CSU), the largest minority-serving institution in the Midwest, to develop and incorporate a cancer disparities concentration in CSU's Master of Public Health program. See an article in Pathways to Discovery.
  • Empowering Neighborhood Resources in Combating Health Disparities (ENRICH'D™) is a culturally adapted, patient-centered breast cancer awareness and screening program launched in 2011. The program initially focused on the African American community in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood and the Asian American community in Chicago's Armour Square neighborhood. The OCECD has extended the program’s range, most recently to the Latino community in the Brighton Park neighborhood. See an article in Pathways to Discovery. Read a testimonial.
  • Everyone Developing an Understanding of Cancer Awareness, Treatment, and Education (ED-U-CATE) is a workplace wellness program designed to educate employees about cancer risks, prevention, screening, and treatment options. The OCECD has hosted ED-U-CATE events at a number of Chicago-area corporations and organizations, including PepsiCo, Exelon, and The Chicago Urban League. Read a testimonial.
  • The Mentored Education Now Taking on Research (MENTOR) program is helping undergraduate and graduate students gain hands-on experience in health disparities research among racial and ethnic populations. Masters of Public Health students from Chicago State University, Benedictine University, and DePaul University and an undergraduate student from UChicago are currently enrolled as MENTOR Scholars.
  • The Colorectal Cancer Screening Campaign involves several activities that the OCECD has undertaken to increase colorectal cancer screenings for underserved populations. For example, the OCECD and the Asian Health Coalition formed a research task force to study the impact of race/ethnicity and language concordance in community education programs on colorectal cancer screening in the Korean immigrant population. The OCECD also led a statewide initiative, supported by the Illinois Cancer Partnership, to provide over 2,000 colorectal cancer screenings in 45 community organizations and hospitals. Another statewide initiative supported by the American Cancer Society will remove barriers to screening, giving people an equal opportunity to benefit from colorectal cancer screening. See an article in Pathways to Discovery.
  • Diverse Participation in Clinical Trials - Clinical trials are essential for investigating the safety and effectiveness of promising new medical therapies, and for bringing breakthroughs to patients who need them. However, these trials have typically been conducted with a limited range of participants. A team of researchers from Northwestern University, Rush University, University of Chicago (OCECD), and University of Illinois at Chicago is pursuing a community-based participatory research approach with community partner Project Brotherhood to develop effective outreach strategies for involving more members of our local African American communities as participants in clinical research.
  • Cancer Transitions™ is designed by the LIVESTRONG® organization to support, educate, and empower people during the transitional period after cancer treatment is completed. Six weekly sessions plus a booster session provide cancer survivors with information, skills, and tools to address exercise, nutrition, emotional health, quality of life, and medical management. The program was also culturally adapted for the Chinese community.
  • The Journey: Walk-Through Program brings community members to the University of Chicago Medicine for a firsthand learning experience of the diagnostic, treatment, and survivorship services offered to cancer patients. Participants tour hospital facilities, including procedural rooms for mammography, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, and meet with breast cancer specialists who explain how cancer is detected, diagnosed, and treated.

Recent Events

The OCECD has participated in a number of recent events, including:

  • The Emancipation from Health Disparities: A Juneteenth Conversation
  • Partnership for Healthier Asians Kick Off
  • Cancer Education Program in the Lao Community during Asian Heritage Month
  • Cancer 101 learning module on biospecimen collection for research in the South Asian American population
  • Community Health Advocacy Mentoring Program in the Roseland community
  • Health information booth at Know Your Health Day at Salem Baptist Church
  • Midwest Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Continuing Medical Education (CME) Conference
  • “Touch, Caring, and Cancer” seminar for caregivers at the Chinese American Service League
  • Screening of the movie, “50/50”
  • Cancer risk information at an Urban League Health Fair
  • Guest spot on a Chicago Talk Radio Show segment about HPV and cervical cancer
  • Breast cancer town hall event at the Chinese American Service League
  • Health information booth at a Percy Julian High School football game
  • ED-U-CATE sessions at Exelon, Catholic Charities, Chicago Public Schools, PepsiCo, and Chicago Urban League
  • Health tent at the Chicago Latin American Soccer Association (CLASA) championship games
  • Cancer prevention discussion with Army Reserve Teen Panel
  • Cancer survivors luncheon with NASCAR driver Max Papis
  • Hepatitis Leadership Breakfast in the UIC Medical District
  • Women Speak! A Breast Cancer Conversation at the South Shore Cultural Center
  • Surviving Breast Cancer Together group discussion at Kennedy King College (See an article in Pathways to Discovery)
  • State of the Cancer Union lecture at the DuSable Museum
  • Family Wellness Night at the American Indian Center of Chicago
  • Intercultural Cancer Council's Regional Symposium on Minorities, The Medically Underserved & Cancer at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion. (See an article in Pathways to Discovery)


Events