After an inaugural year of infrastructure development and ground cultivation to pursue its planned cancer awareness, research and training objectives, Redes En Acción initiated or expanded a wide range of activities during the 5-year program.
Infrastructure building. During the first year, the organizational structure for Redes took shape, beginning with the establishment of the National Network Center (NNC), coordinated by the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Research Center of the Baylor College of Medicine. In August 2000, the NNC organized and hosted the inaugural meeting of the National Steering Committee, comprised of leaders from academia, federal agencies and representatives of community-based organizations with a combined membership of almost 100,000.
Year 1 also saw development of six Regional Network Centers (RNCs) across the country - in San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, San Antonio, New York City and Miami. Each of the RNCs organized a Regional Community Advisory Committee similar in composition to the National Steering Committee, and conducted meetings during the year.
Infrastructure expansion. In Year 2, the six RNCs continued to expand their service areas into additional states, recruit new partners, conduct Regional Community Advisory Committee meetings, perform public and professional communication activities, and promote Latino cancer research and training efforts. Also in Year 2 at the national level, Redes En Acción continued to diversify its National Steering Committee (NSC), with membership representation from academic institutions, federal and private entities, and a variety of community-based organizations. The National Network Center hosted the 5th Annual National Steering Committee (NSC) Meeting in San Antonio March 2-4, 2005, featuring a wealth of dynamic speakers, ranging from leaders at the NCI, Redes pilot investigators, and a training program panel that showcased rising young junior Latino cancer researchers discussing their research studies. The NSC Reports for 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 are available online in Adobe Acrobat portable document format to download by clicking on the preceding link.
Establishing links. A principal goal of Redes En Acción is development of collaborative relationships that will lead to productive opportunities in the areas of cancer research, training and awareness with respect to the Latino population. For example, a partnership was formed with the National Hispanic Medical Association in Washington, DC. Similarly, to help support Redes public communication, research and training goals, contracts have been developed with regional NCI Cancer Information Service (CIS) offices: New York State Region, Coastal Region (Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands), South Central Region (Texas, Oklahoma) and California State Region.
Years 2-5 saw collaborations developed with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, NCI Cancer Genetics Network, Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Cancer Institute (specifically, the Specialized Program of Research Excellence, Cancer Genetics Network and Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities) and other organizations through research, training and awareness partnerships. Redes En Acción partners played different roles: assisting in the design of programs and surveys, providing input on community health agenda settings, receiving critical cancer control education programs, and conducting seminars and presentations.
Latino cancer agenda. To lay the foundation for activities going forward, the Redes program has continually worked to identify and prioritize cancer issues of greatest relevance and concern to Latinos. The first step was to solicit recommendations from National Steering Committee members, who discussed and debated the issues during their initial meeting in August 2000 in San Antonio. Regional insight came during similar discussions in ensuing Regional Community Advisory Committee meetings. Additionally, input was received from national surveys of key observers and Hispanic physicians. The goal was to use information gained throughout this process in developing a national Latino cancer agenda to drive future research, professional training and public education efforts.
With further input from the Redes En Acción network, a "white paper" was produced -- a document that simply and succinctly articulates the Redes En Acción recommendations vis-a-vis Hispanics and cancer-- in the original grant context of research, training and awareness. This document was presented at the 4th Annual National Steering Committee (NSC) meeting in August 2003 to a panel of federal government officials, all of whom operate at the decision-making level of their agencies, and national organizations (NCI, CDC, etc.) for their consideration and response. As a result of feedback from these expert panelists, as well as NSC members, the recommendations for the Redes En Acción national Hispanic/Latino research, training and education and outreach agenda were prioritized and refined to provide a framework for policymakers in both the public and private sectors to address the growing incidence of and mortality from cancer in the Hispanic/Latino population through publication of the Redes En Acción Latino Cancer Report. To download a copy of the Latino Cancer Report, click on this link.
Redes En Acción Refunded Under NCI Community Networks Initiative: Following the first five years of the initiative, Redes En Acción had formed the most extensive collaboration of organizations ever assembled to address cancer disparities in Latino populations. Supported by another five-year (2005-2010), $7.2 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant from the NCI's Community Networks Program (CNP) initiative, Redes En Acción continued to expand upon its efforts to fight cancer in Latino communities throughout the United States.
The $95 million NCI Community Networks Program initiative was aimed at reducing cancer deaths among minority and underserved populations through community-based cancer prevention and control activities in geographically and culturally diverse areas of the country. Redes En Acción was one of 25 projects funded by the initiative targeting cancer disparities in Hispanics/Latinos, African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asians, Hawaiian Natives and other Pacific Islanders, and the rural poor.
Of the CNP programs funded, Redes En Acción was one of only six with a nationwide focus. Other funded programs will have either a local or regional scope of activities. Under the CNP initiative, Redes En Acción maintained the infrastructure developed under the Special Populations Networks program and expanded its network activities as part of NCI's ongoing efforts to understand why some populations groups -- often minorities and the poor -- have higher cancer rates than others, and to eliminate disparities by involving local communities in education, research, and training.
Redes En Acción Continues Its Cancer Control Activities Under NCI Community Networks Program Centers: After a decade of success reducing Latino cancer through research, training and education, Redes En Acción received a new $5.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to bolster and expand its cancer-fighting efforts. Redes now has regional sites in Chicago, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and San Antonio, along with its online network of more than 1,800 researchers and advocates from across the U.S. who are united in fighting Latino cancer health disparities. The new grant will bolster Redes' efforts through 2015 and pave way for two new studies -- a large-scale intervention to test novel strategies to improve Latino cancer survivors' quality of life and a pilot study of an Internet-based tobacco cessation service.
Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, Redes principal investigator stated, "We believe our ongoing research, training and education activities have helped decrease Latino cancer over the years, and our new grant gives us fresh opportunities to raise the level of Latino health even more." Redes will continue to develop and implement a variety of community-based cancer control and prevention education, research and training activities to increase the use of beneficial interventions to reduce cancer health disparities through the Community Networks Program Centers (CNPC). The goal is to expand and maintain the existing Redes En Acción infrastructure into a sustainable network that will reduce cancer health disparities through cancer research, training and outreach within and among the diverse Hispanic/Latino (HL) communities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, featuring innovative community-based participatory research (CBPR) on cancer control, prevention and survivorship. An experienced team of HL investigators with more than a decade of collaboration on published cancer health disparities research programs will lead the effort.
Awareness, Research and Training. For more information on Redes Network Activities, use these links to go to our Awareness, Research and Training pages to learn how Redes En Acción is providing support for cancer awareness activities among Latino communities, prioritizing cancer issues impacting Latinos, fostering research projects based on those priorities, and establishing training and research opportunities for Latino students and researchers.