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Implementing a National Cancer Health Disparities Strategy

Every American deserves to live a long, healthy life. However, some Americans share an unequal burden of suffering from disease, far beyond what genetics alone would explain. Cancer health disparities are the differences in the prevalence of cancers, access to treatment and treatment outcomes. 

C-Change believes it is within our power to address cancer health disparities and believes it can do so by harnessing the combined capacity of community and national leaders in the government, private and no-profit sectors. As part of a long term, collaborative strategy to eliminate cancer health disparities, C-Change aims to:

  1. Promote the adoption of messages that describe the societal and economic cost of cancer health disparities that will resonate with the public and policymakers to stimulate action and
  2. Intervene in communities experiencing a significant cancer burden using a multi-sector, multi-organization collaborative approach.

DISPARITIES MESSAGING... Changing the hearts and minds of American's

Cancer health disparities affect EVERYONE and exact a substantial toll on society*. Despite the data and numerous reports that exist on disparities, it remains a persistent and challenging issue that is getting worse and has not resonated with policymakers and the general public. As a part of our Cancer Health Disparities Initiative, C-Change developed messages that describe the societal and economic cost of cancer health disparities.  

Informed by C-Change’s Societal and Economic Impact of Cancer Health Disparities Case Statement, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's messaging guide, A New Way to Talk about the Social Determinants of Health and other national research, the goal of the messages is to help advocates foster a dialogue on cancer health disparities with individuals and policy makers who are not familiar with the concept and which in turn we hope will stimulate action to address disparities.

The Messages and Tips on how to use them can be accessed here. However, for change to occur, decision makers must create and support health policies that benefit all constituents, especially disparate populations. Join our efforts and help change the way our society thinks and speaks about disparities. One way to do so is to encourage your organization to adopt, incorporate and/or promote C-Change’s Disparities Messages.

GEOGRAPHIC INTERVENTION PROJECT (GIP)... Partnering with communities to bend the disparities curve. 

The core concept behind the Geographic Intervention Project (GIP) is to demonstrate that the combined efforts of multiple organizations from the private, not-for-profit, and government sectors, working as a single force in partnership with communities, can create a sustainable, scalable, efficient, effective and transferable model for addressing community health disparities.

Many C-Change members have local, regional and/or state level presences in communities throughout the nation.  Applying our unique, multi-sector approach, C-Change is partnering with other national and local entities to engage an identified U.S. disparate community in a collaborative process to answer three questions:

  1. Why is the cancer burden so high in this community?
  2. What are priority actions to address cancer disparities occurring in this community?
  3. How can C-Change and the community work collaboratively to decrease the burden of cancer health disparities in this community?

This long-term strategy will be implemented using a phased approach as detailed below. The process which includes assessment, planning, intervention, and evaluation is being documented to promote translation in other communities.


Community Selection
C-Change has allocated resources to support an intervention in initially one community, and therefore, was judicious in the selection of that community. The decision to invest in the community selected was guided by the following questions:

  1. Where is the greatest need?
  2. Can C-Change leverage its multi-sector membership in the community?
  3. Is the community able and willing to work together?
  4. Will this effort be successful in a manner that can be translated to other communities

The Community - Mississippi Gulf Coast
The Mississippi Gulf Coast (Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties) has been identified as the initial community for C-Change to engage in a partnership. Detailed information on this community can be found in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community Portrait.





Encourage your organization to adopt, incorporate, and promote the Disparities Messages.  
Deploy your regional and local resources in the Mississippi Gulf Coast to assist our GIP.
Become a partner with the "National Partnership to End Health Disparities". Sign up here.
Advisory Committee Chairs:
Armin Weinberg, PhD
Harold Freeman, MD

Advisory Committee List

Messaging Resources:

GIP Resources:

National Disparities Publications & Reports:

Other Related Resources


















C-Change’s success is made possible by the commitment of our members, funding of our donors, and dedication of our staff, for which we are deeply grateful.  The 2012 Health Disparities Initiative has been funded in part by Legacy - For Longer Healthier Lives and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (in-kind).  Additional funding also comes from individuals, the American Cancer Society, Hogan Lovells (pro bono), LiveSTRONG, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, State Farm Insurance and United Health Foundation      Companies. (Updated 4/16/13)