Southwest Virginia residents sought to direct region's battle against cancer

A new University of Virginia Cancer Center initiative will empower Southwest Virginia residents to lead projects to better detect and prevent cancer in the region. The effort has earned $244,589 in funding from the Eugene Washington Engagement Award Program at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

With the funding in hand, the UVA Cancer Center Without Walls team is now seeking Southwest Virginia residents who will be trained to guide these cancer research projects.

Their goal is to address two cancer disparities in the Appalachian counties of Southwest Virginia:

the lack of early screening and detection high death rates (between 15 and 36 percent higher compared with urban non-Appalachian residents) caused by later detection and lack of access to treatment and support programs

Building Community Involvement

This new initiative grew out of a community advisory board formed in 2013 for the UVA Cancer Center Without Walls, which works to improve cancer care for residents of Southwest Virginia. “The advisory board has been a sounding board for researchers,” said Jamie Zoellner, PhD, RD, co-director of the Cancer Center Without Walls. “We hadn’t sat down at the table with [the advisory board members] and said, ‘What are your research priorities?'”



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