eNewsletter - Community Outreach
Harrisburg Community Cancer Network to Conduct Harrisburg Cancer Survivors Day
For the third consecutive year, the Harrisburg Community Cancer Network (HCCN) will be conducting targeted cancer survivorship activities in conjunction with National Cancer Survivors Day. The National Cancer Survivors Day® is a CELEBRATION for those who have survived, an INSPIRATION for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of SUPPORT for families, and an OUTREACH to the community. The number of cancer survivors in the United States increased to 11.7 million in 2007, from only 3 million 1971 and 9.8 million in 2001. Women make up a large proportion of cancer survivors (54 percent). Breast cancer survivors are the largest group of cancer survivors (22 percent), followed by prostate cancer survivors (19 percent) and colorectal cancer survivors (10 percent).
The Harrisburg Cancer Survivors Day is a strategic outreach with Harrisburg area churches. The program seeks to raise awareness of issues related to cancer survivorship and direct survivors and caregivers to local resources. A highlight of the program, which is held during the morning worship service, includes a warm greeting from a congregant, a survivor testimony, a survivorship poem or prayer during lighting of a candle, and closing remarks by a representative of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. Afterwards, a continental meal is served and survivorship resources are available. Survivors are asked to wear white and are given a white carnation. The pastor and the church are acknowledged for their participation in the Harrisburg Cancer Survivors Day. In 2013, the Harrisburg Cancer Survivors Day is being organized by a subcommittee of the HCCN's Community Engagement Advisory Board. The subcommittee's goal is to host a survivorship day in five local Harrisburg churches.
Please join us in celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day on Sunday June 2, 2013.
Community Health Workers at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are trusted members of the community who have a passion for helping other community members prevent or manage chronic disease. Studies of CHW's have shown that they have a positive impact on patients keeping appointments, compliance with prescriptions, risk reduction, coordinating access to primary care and preventative services, and helping individuals manage chronic conditions. CHWs typically have minimal formal training in medicine or health, but have intimate knowledge of their communities and resources. CHWs help individuals overcome barriers, such as those associated with transportation, scheduling and finances, to health care. The Affordable Care Act (2010) calls for CHWs to be members of health care teams in patient-centered medical homes or in accountable care organizations. A 2005 study estimated that there were 120,000 CHWs in the United States with more than 3,500 in PA.
The Community Sciences and Health Outcomes (CSHO) Core of Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute received funding from the American Cancer Society/Walmart Foundation to begin a program of CHWs. The Core's CHW program is being mentored by the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the development of CHWs because UAB began their program in the 1990's and now have a work force of over 500 CHWs throughout Alabama and Mississippi. Experienced CHWs at UAB have also received training in cancer research and have become community research assistants who conduct recruitment and data collection for cancer prevention and survivorship studies.
At the Cancer Institute, CHWs have demonstrated their value by facilitating peer education classes, navigating to resources for survivors, removing barriers to preventive care, and being wellness champions in their communities. Over the past two years, this group of dedicated women has been responsible for educating over 900 women—most have been minority—on breast health, breast cancer prevention, and early detection. More recently, the CHWs have been trained in nutrition and community health. Cancer Institute CHWs have been successful in connecting nearly fifty uninsured or underserved women to resources in which they have received screening mammograms and Pap tests. Under the guidance of the UAB, the CSHO Core hopes to increase the number, scope and capacity of its CHWs.