During the past five years, the OCECD has dramatically expanded its partner engagement and capacity building, advocacy, education, and research activities in Chicago’s black, Asian, and Hispanic communities. Signature OCECD programs and examples of collaborative community work include:

NCI National Outreach Network Community Health Educators

OCECD staff lead efforts in the local African-American and Asian communities to disseminate NCI culturally-tailored education materials promoting cancer screening and early detection, clinical trial and biobanking participation. The Community Health Educators (CHEs) develop and foster meaningful collaborative relationships with many community- and faith-based organizations which can positively impact vulnerable community members.

OCECD is an active participant in the National Cancer Institute’s Screen to Save program. Through Screen to Save, community health educators funded by the NCI’s National Outreach Network (NON) and Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE), will provide culturally-tailored, evidence-based colorectal cancer information, education, and screening resources within racially and ethnically diverse and rural communities nationwide.

Chicago Southside Cancer Disparities Initiative

A 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. This program is funded by a NCI P20 grant in 2012.

Walk Through the Cure

An interactive, web-based breast health education tool ( which leads patients and community health educators through a journey along the continuum of breast health and cancer (i.e., screening, treatment and survivorship). The tool was launched in 2015 in English, Spanish and Chinese language versions.

Chinese Cancer Survivor Support Group

The only bilingual formalized cancer survivorship support group for Chinese speaking cancer survivors and caregivers, meeting the needs of this vulnerable immigrant community with a known high burden of gastrointestinal and lung cancer. For more information, contact Helen Lam at

Cook County Cancer Alliance to Reignite and Enhance Screening (CARES)

A program to establish a multilevel, multifaceted framework to increase colorectal cancer screening, prevention and control among Asian Americans, Hispanic and African Americans in Cook County. This program, funded by a grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is in partnership with a diverse group of healthcare system sector partners (e.g., UChicago’s new Center for Asian Health Equity, Heartland Health Centers, the Federally Qualified Health Center Miles Square Clinic and Asian Human Services Family Health Center).

Empowering Neighborhood Resources in Combating Health Disparities (ENRICH’D™)

A culturally adapted, patient-centered cancer awareness and screening program begun in 2011. With input from our medical students, as well as community members, programs are adapted to the unique characteristics of each neighborhood to help close gaps in healthcare knowledge and encourage healthier lifestyles.

Lost in Translation Breast Cancer Equity Conference

A collaborative, multidisciplinary community conference to promote breast cancer advocacy, education and research to reduce breast cancer disparities in the Chicago South Side held in November 2016. This program is in partnership with the Greater Roseland Breast Health Consortium and many community and academic partners.

Precision Medicine Initiative

The OCECD, particularly its CHEs, will play an important role in education and recruitment within diverse communities in support of the Comprehensive Cancer Center’s role in the Illinois Precision Medicine Consortium.