Connecting Communities to Science


Tackling racial disparities

Read the essay in The Cancer Letter.

About Us

Karmanos Cancer Institute is the largest cancer research and care network in the state of Michigan (MI). Headquartered in Detroit, the Karmanos catchment area covers 46 of MI’s 83 counties, an area that is home to 6.7 million residents. Karmanos Cancer Institute’s mission is to lead in transformative cancer care, research and education through courage, commitment and compassion.

In support of this mission, Karmanos has expanded its Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) efforts through the Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement (OCHECE). OCHECE’s activities are guided by a cancer surveillance strategy that captures data across four distinct catchment area regions that are diverse across race, ethnicity and rurality. Activities are further guided by a participatory research approach in which community stakeholders are actively engaged in research prioritization, implementation, and dissemination.

In 2016, OCHECE worked with range of community partners to establish Michigan Cancer HealthLink (formerly Detroit HealthLink for Equity in Cancer Care), an academic-community partnership created to build community capacity to collaborate in cancer-related research. HealthLink convenes Cancer Action Councils (CACs), neighborhood-based and population-driven groups of cancer survivors, caregivers and advocates who have been historically excluded from meaningful research collaborations. Groups of cancer survivors, caregivers, and advocates who use their local knowledge and expertise to reduce the burden of cancer. There are currently eight CACs across six cities in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Genesee counties with racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse membership.

OCHECE has also established a Research and Advocacy Consortium (RAC), a growing network that currently includes faith-based, social service, and public health organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Genesee counties as formal members and partners.

The specific aims of Karmanos’ community outreach and engagement efforts are as follows:

  • Aim 1: Monitor cancer burden, disparities, and needs throughout the Karmanos catchment area.
  • Aim 2: Facilitate community stakeholder engagement in all phases of cancer research and control efforts.
  • Aim 3: Link community outreach and engagement efforts to the development and implementation of research across basic, clinical and population sciences.
  • Aim 4: Promote and implement strategies and policies to reduce cancer burden in the Karmanos catchment area.

Meet our Staff

Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement Staff

Meet the advocates aiming to eliminate cancer health disparities and reduce the burden of cancer.

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