UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Magazine Fall 2015 - Page 13

outreach giving back continued from page 21 to help patients overcome many of these issues and better navigate the cancer journey. A perfect example of this is Angela Williams, who first became a CHARP in 2001 after losing her sister to ovarian cancer. “For several months, I facilitated my grief and fears in unhealthy ways,” she recalls. “But after volunteering with the Deep South Network, my grief changed to graduation as a community health advisor.” In addition to serving as a CHARP, Ms. Williams conducted literally thousands of cancer awareness activities that have reached hundreds of thousands of people. areas. For example, the Body & Soul initiative, the link patients to community resources, help patients overcome barriers to treatment, support patients on clinical trials, and provide social and emotional support from diagnosis to survivorship.” The Future of the Deep South Network So where do the CHAs – and the Deep South Network – go from here? There are challenges ahead. Federal funding for cancer research has decreased nationwide, and programs such as the DSN are being affected. While additional funding sources are being findings and reflect on what has been done while examining what still needs to be accomplished. “This is a time for us to celebrate our successes and accomplishments,” Ms. Hardy says. “It also allows us to do a full analysis of the massive amounts of data we have collected over the years.” The DSN has conducted literally thousands of cancer awareness activities that have reached hundreds of thousands of people. While the network mostly focused on breast and cervical cancer screenings in its early days, it expanded over the years to include C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R By JOSH TILL Loss research intervention are all programs designed to address the lack of physical activity and poor eating habits among minorities and other underserved populations. Ms. Hardy recognizes, however, that there is rates among the Medicare population, we still have 40 navigator for all cancer types,” she says. “As such, I Advisory Board Names New Members, Officers WALK Campaign and the Journey to Better Weight as a CHA play a key role in my success as a patient an additional year of funding to disseminate their U A B choices among African-Americans in its targeted still plenty of work to be done. “While we have been secured, the NCI has granted the Cancer Center 22 began heavily targeting physical activity and lifestyle also works as a patient navigator for the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine. “My training and expertise The DSN has colorectal cancer. In the last eight years, DSN also successful in reversing disparities in mammography percent of the populations who are unscreened. These are educated people with insurance and the means necessary to get screened, but don’t for a number of reasons. We have to be innovative and push ourselves outside our comfort zones to reach these people.” For the next year, the CHARPs are being mobilized to go back into their communities and update them on what the DSN has accomplished and gain feedback on potential activities and initiatives going forward. Ms. Hardy hopes to expand the CHA model to include HIV and hepatitis-C awareness and education along with other chronic diseases that have a cancer connection, in addition to conducting more community-based participatory research and collaborating with other Cancer Center scientists. “One of the things I’m most proud of is the paradigm shift in people’s willingness to talk about cancer,” she says. “When we first started, we had to really beat the bushes to seek out people and programs,