A Community Health Advisor Program to Reduce Cancer Screening Disparities in the Deep South and Appalachia: The American Cancer Society’s CHA Collaborative

Academic Article


  • Introduction. Cancer disparities continue to exist in the United States. Community health advisors (CHAs) can play a critical role in addressing cancer disparities. The American Cancer Society (ACS) implemented a 3-year pilot CHA program in the South based on an evidence-based program to increase breast cancer screening. Study Design. Evaluation assessed the extent to which ACS successfully implemented the program. Quantitative data were tracked and reported by ACS staff, and qualitative data were collected through focus groups and interviews with volunteer participants. Setting/Participants. The pilot was implemented in 28 communities in nine states. ACS staff recruited volunteer community network partners (CNPs) as local advisory groups, and volunteer CHAs to conduct outreach, education, and screening navigation. Measures. Outcome measures included number of individuals educated and screened, and number of communities reaching education and screening targets. Process measures included number of volunteers recruited, number of communities reaching recruitment targets, and implementation process, challenges, and successes. Results. A total of 383 CHAs were recruited and recruitment goals were met in 68%; 31,439 individuals were educated, and 93% of communities reached education goals. In all, 5,056 individuals were screened, but screening goals were attained in only 36% of communities. Conclusion. This pilot demonstrates the ability of ACS to adapt and disseminate an evidence-based program to fit into its volunteer-based outreach model. ACS built community network partnerships, recruited a cadre of volunteers, and trained them to conduct education and screening navigation.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Riehman KS; Fisher-Borne M; Martinez JM; Daven M; Thompson L; Fouad MN; Partridge EE
  • Start Page

  • 734
  • End Page

  • 740
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 5