What would you call a dynamic force that creates and implements community-based partnerships with health centers, nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, adult education, literacy groups and Moffitt Cancer Center? This collaborative network is the Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network (TBCCN). TBCCN was initially funded in 2005 by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as one of its 25 Community Networks Programs.
The goal? To create and implement sustainable and effective community-based interventions to impact cancer disparities in the Tampa Bay area. Today, TBCCN includes 28 partners, including Farmworkers Self-Help, Inc.
“Rather than assume those in the ‘ivory tower’ know what is best for the community, TBCCN was established on the principle of community-based participatory research, allowing the stakeholders to define the priorities and inform the approach,” says Thomas Sellers, Ph.D., MPH, center director, Moffitt Cancer Center.
“Moffitt has a long history of seeking to meet the needs of the community,” Dr. Sellers says. “To that end, Dr. Cathy Meade has championed efforts to build community partnerships for better health under the auspices of TBCCN.”
Working with a larger team, Dr. Cathy Meade and Dr. Clement Gwede — both members of Moffitt’s Health Outcomes & Behavior Program — are the energetic motivation behind TBCCN.
Dr. Meade’s research and education interests involve finding innovative ways to impact health disparities, producing culturally and literacy relevant cancer communications and creating sustained community-based education and outreach initiatives for medically underserved populations. She has served in NCI work groups designed to increase awareness of the impact of literacy in healthcare. Additionally, her work focuses on developing cancer training programs that increase the number of underrepresented scientists. She leads Project LINK (Leaders In New Knowledge), an NCI-funded year-round research training program, housed at Moffitt for underrepresented high school and undergraduate students.
Dr. Gwede’s research centers on these broad goals: reducing cancer disparities through community-based interventions to promote informed decision making and early detection for prostate and colorectal cancer, increasing participation of racial-ethnic minorities in clinical research and symptom management interventions to improve quality of life. Dr. Gwede recently was appointed as one of 15 members to the Florida Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council (CCRAB). CCRAB was founded by state statute in 1979 with the intent of advising the Legislature, governor and surgeon general on ways to reduce Florida’s cancer burden.
The following is the complete listing of TBCCN’s current partners:
- American Cancer Society
- Florida Department of Health-Pinellas County
- BEST: Brain Expansions Scholastic Training
- Front Porch Community Development Association, Inc.
- Catholic Charities Mobile Medical Services
- Haitian Association Foundation of Tampa Bay, Inc.
- Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
- Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality, Inc. (HOPE)
- Faces of Courage Foundation, Inc.
- James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center
- Farmworkers Self-Help, Inc.
- Jim West Prostate Cancer Foundation, Inc.
- Florida Department of Health-Hillsborough County
- Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer, Inc. (LUNA, Inc.)
- Florida Department of Health-Pasco County
- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- Morton Plant Mease –Cancer Services
- Suncoast Community Health Centers
- Multicultural Resource Center, Inc.
- The Florida Suncoast Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure
- Premier Community HealthCare Group, Inc.
- Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative
- Saint Leo University
- Tampa Family Health Centers
- Sistahs Surviving Breast Cancer
- University Area Community Development Corporation, Inc.
- Star Foundation for Cancer, Inc.
- St. Petersburg College, Workforce Institute