The Office of Health Initiatives and Disparities Research has developed and built partnerships that include poor urban, rural, and medically underserved communities across the state, government agencies, economic and development agencies, physician practice groups, community investigators, and academic researchers from across the state and regions with an interest in cancer related health disparities. Our office focuses on dissemination and implementation of evidence based clinical, research and community strategies to reduce cancer health disparities. We emphasize the importance of infrastructure building to support clinical trials, biorepository/bio banking, cancer education, legislative actions, information dissemination, screening and research. Multi-disciplinary research teams are composed to investigate healthcare delivery and outcomes, breast cancer risk and mortality, prostate cancer risk and mortality, colorectal cancer risk and mortality, lung cancer, HPV education and vaccination, tobacco related disparities, and broad areas related to occupational and environmental exposures and lifestyle choices that influence cancer related health disparities.
Action steps to increase community engagement include the following activities: Ask the Doctor Day(monthly), Minority Health Expo (annual), newsletter (quarterly), billboards (located in targeted communities), social media, faith-based organizations, coalitions, and community-based organizations. HIDR also has a community advisory board in which we have shared governance and collectively decided on the mission and goals and our plans of action. We provide trainings to our board members on the Institutional Review Board, cultural competency, health literacy, community-based participatory research, and cancer health disparities.
All of our cancer education and screening programs take a community-based research approach, combining the efforts of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with that of local residents.