Our learnings from both the CARE and IMPACT programs have revealed the need to create a fully immersive community cancer program that is replicable, sustainable, and affordable – yielding the Lazarex Cancer Wellness HUB concept – what we consider to be the “heartbeat” of our work in this arena. The Cancer Wellness HUBs are a safe space for community members to talk about their health concerns across the continuum of cancer care. Residents will have the opportunity to develop personal relationships with HUB Cancer Care Companions to overcome historical and cultural barriers for better health outcomes and help them feel welcome in an unfamiliar environment.
The Lazarex Cancer Wellness HUB is a place based, community led, and culturally appropriate model of community engagement. We combine exemplary public health best practices, localized mixed method assessment and community investment. This creates a platform where individuals and communities are given a voice, access to resources, and support to better navigate their health and health outcomes throughout their cancer journey. We incorporate input from residents, community organizations, health practitioners, policy makers, and other stakeholders to inform the development and implementation of HUB strategies. The HUB is changing both the way we think about cancer prevention and the actions we take to reduce cancer burden and disparities in underserved communities.
The HUB is not just an information source – it functions as an actual hub within the community, bringing together the many resources and services required to manage the cancer journey and provide the greatest opportunity for a successful result. The original Philadelphia HUB is a bricks and mortar facility providing a local and culturally appropriate resource to answer questions, navigate historical fears, misperceptions, and cultural barriers, understand the implications of family cancer history and the importance of screenings (hereditary predisposition to cancer), explore options for prevention through lifestyle choices, and support patients from treatment to clinical trials.
The Philadelphia Cancer Wellness HUB will continue to be the incubator of new ideas and strategies to keep the program relevant and it provides a great opportunity to explore various aspects of the concept to see what works best. However, this approach is cost prohibitive and limits our opportunities for expansion. Therefore, we are developing a more cost effective “pop-up” version of the Cancer Wellness HUB in the greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas through a continued affiliation with Drexel University, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, John Muir Health, and their associated community organizations. Rather than having a physical facility that requires significant financial resources to operate and maintain, the pop-up concept allows us to utilize existing facilities (churches, schools, YMCA, community centers, health clinics, etc.) within the community and still have continuous, place-based, and culturally appropriate community engagement on a consistent basis. We will offer the same programming and engage across the continuum of cancer care to improve cancer health outcomes and address health disparities.
News & Milestones:
- Lazarex Cancer Foundation Utilizes digital sherpa™ Train-the-Trainer Program to Create Health Equity (2022): Dr. Marya Shegog is all about health equity and when she joined the staff of Lazarex Cancer Foundation in January 2021, she knew right away that the foundation’s partnership with Patient Empowerment Network’s (PEN) digital sherpa™ Train-the-Trainer Program was going to help bring health equity to the communities that Lazarex serves.
- Cancer patients often need this one basic thing to participate in clinical trials (2019): The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Marie McCollough interviews Lazarex Cancer Foundation Founder Dana Dornsife about the foundation’s initiatives in Philadelphia.
- The Drexel School of Public Health (DSPH) completed a comprehensive survey (2020), “The State of Cancer in Philadelphia,” of the incidence, prevalence and risk factors of a broad range of cancers in Philadelphia and the West Philadelphia Promise Zone. This report, sponsored by Lazarex, provides the data and science side of the equation that shapes our outreach and engagement efforts and establishes a baseline against which we can measure our results.
- Lazarex Cancer Foundation Created a Program to Include More People of Color in Human Trials (podcast 2021) with Dr. Marya Shegog, Health Equity and Diversity Coordinator for Lazarex Cancer Foundation
- USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center to establish the Cancer Wellness HUBs with Lazarex Cancer Foundation grant (press release 2021)
- Philadelphia Pilot Program to Bridge Gap Between Patient and Provider (video newscast 2021): Great piece about Lazarex Cancer Foundation’s Community Impact Program at the Dornsife Center at Drexel University.