Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in the U.S., yet can be prevented or treated if detected early.
Providence is partnering with Stand Up To Cancer on a multi-year effort to increase colorectal cancer screenings in communities of color.
As part of the effort, Providence Saint John’s Cancer Institute will partner with Southern California leaders to build, launch, and support local Community Health Action Teams (CHATs).
The project is launching a community survey in the Los Angeles area to learn more about current colorectal cancer screening rates, colorectal cancer knowledge, and barriers and facilitators to screenings.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in the U.S., yet can be prevented or treated if detected early. While screening is the key to prevention, screening rates are low, especially in Black and Latino/a communities. A collaboration between Providence and Stand Up To Cancer known as the Community Health Action Team (CHAT) Project is working to change that through a multi-year study designed to chart a path toward addressing racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in cancer screening and early detection.
Through this project, Providence St. John’s Cancer Institute will partner with local leaders in Los Angeles (LA) and Santa Monica, California, to build, launch, and support teams of local residents trained as CHATs to inform the community about colorectal cancer, promote screening, and navigate local health systems. The CHAT teams will focus on community-led campaigns designed to increase take-up of colorectal cancer screening in Black and Latino/a communities.
Providence researchers, including Anton Bilchik, MD, at the St. John’s Cancer Institute, and Staci Wendt, PhD, at the Providence Health Research Accelerator (HRA), will work to support the community campaigns. That includes helping patients who screen positive for cancers and studying the impact of the CHAT’s efforts on community screening rates–with the singular goal of identifying and informing replicable community-driven strategies that support increased cancer screening and early detection in at-risk communities across the nation.
The CHATs are led by community leaders in the South LA and Santa Monica Communities:
In South LA, Ms. Helena Williams of Lincoln Memorial Congregational Church; Pastor Rhonda Holbert of Celebrate Life Cancer Ministry; and James Smith, a former USPS Postmaster, are leading the charge.
In Santa Monica, community and civic leaders including Alex Aldana, Executive Director of the Pico Youth and Family Center; Bernice Onefre; and Santa Monica City Council Member Christine Parra are shaping local efforts.
- Some of these leaders have had their own personal experiences with cancer and are passionate about spreading the word about the benefits of early detection. All are passionate about improving the health and well-being of their community.
Engaging communities through colorectal cancer research and education about screenings
In the next few months, the South LA and Santa Monica CHATs will design strategic outreach campaigns in their respective communities to engage community members to:
- Inform them about the importance of colorectal cancer screening
- Provide risk assessment screenings to identify community members who may be eligible for at-home test kits such as FIT and Cologuard
- Help order at-home test kits for community members
- Provide support through connect them with a broad range of insurance options, or helping route them to their providers—including non-Providence based providers—if home test results or level of risk indicate additional screening, such as colonoscopy
Fielding a community survey in the Los Angeles area
This fall, the Providence HRA is conducting a community survey in the Los Angeles area to learn more about current colorectal cancer screening rates, general knowledge about colorectal cancer, and barriers and facilitators to colorectal cancer screening. A follow-up survey will be conducted in 2024 to determine the impact of the CHAT approach by measuring any changes in screening rates and knowledge about colorectal cancer.