News Center for Community Health Partnership & Research Chronic Disease

Center awards grants to three community-academic partners for cancer prevention and research

Written by Kim Furlow, communications manager at the Institute for Public Health

The Center for Community Health Partnership and Research announces seed funding for three projects through its Pitch Partners² funding mechanism. The selected projects center on community-academic partnerships to achieve cancer health equity and prevention.

Our center collaborated with Siteman Cancer Center on a spring Pitch Partners event to focus on the importance of cancer research. At Pitch Partners, community members, organizations, researchers and faculty teams present a five-minute “pitch” around health-related projects (in this case, projects involving cancer-related research). At the event, pitch teams identify potential partners and receive critical feedback. Select teams are invited to apply for a rapid seed funding opportunity that nurtures and develops community-academic partnerships. 

The following projects received awards:

Project: Improving gynecological cancer education and care through text messaging and community partnership

Team: Andrea Hagemann, MD, Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG)

Summary: 36% of St. Louis PRG patients suffer from food insecurity and 32% often do not have access to transportation to doctor’s appointments.The goal of this project is to increase access to resources that meet basic needs among high-risk cancer patients, by providing text-messaging services. In addition, this project will increase public education about breast and gynecological cancer prevention. The new texting platform will help onboard patients and assess basic needs, followed by public and family education. 

Project: Raising awareness and education in rural Missouri

Team: Molly Greenwade, MD; David Mutch, MD; Erin Linnenbringer, PhD, MS and Missouri Ovarian Cancer Coalition (MOCC)

Summary: There are approximately 71 rural Missouri counties in which women are at risk for delayed diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The delays in diagnosis are due to a lack of awareness about risk factors, signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and a lack of access to local cancer care. This project will help MOCC develop targeted educational materials and resource guides designed for use by Federally Qualified Health Centers and their patients within these rural counties, who are at risk for ovarian cancer.

Project: Understanding equity in charity care

Team: Aimee James, PhD, MPH, MA,and Gateway to Hope

Summary: This project seeks to answer, “How is charity care (pro bono or discounted care) decided at hospitals in the St. Louis region?” In surveying hospital decision makers, financial counselors and social workers, this project will ultimately help Gateway to Hope and their peers more effectively navigate patients to healthcare providers who can help alleviate financial burdens of cancer care. The project will also assist in the advocacy for greater consistency and equity in charity care delivery.

*ICTS Capacity Building Fund also awarded funds to support data management.

Funding for these projects is made possible by the Pitch Partners² funding mechanism from the Institute for Public Health and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center.