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The Office of Outreach and Health Disparities seeks to increase awareness of cancer and cancer screening, understanding the vital role that outreach and involvement play in the community.

Since its founding in 2007, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities in Baylor College of Medicine’s NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center has been dedicated to ensuring the large, diverse and underserved populations of Houston and Harris Country receive the latest information about cancer prevention and treatment.

The primary goal of the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities is to increase community-level awareness of cancer and cancer screening, understanding the vital role that outreach and involvement play in the community. To reach at-risk communities on the ground level, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities has developed a series of events, programs and educational tools designed to resonate with a range of audiences.

One of the most successful of these initiatives has been the Theater Outreach Program, which consists of nine unique monologues, each aimed at one of three underserved demographics within Harris County, including African American, Hispanic and Vietnamese.

Each monologue is created to serve its respective demographic while bridging language barriers, and is written and performed by people in those communities, with the content being vetted by Baylor’s clinical advisory board for accuracy and relevance.

The monologues address breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer, and are accompanied by program information and healthcare offerings at area clinics. The performances are often requested by partner organizations such as Harris Health, American Cancer Society and Neighborhood Services, among others, to educate and engage their patients about screenings and treatment options in an interactive way.

“It is important to use innovative approaches to reach your communities in a way that is familiar and entertaining to them,” said Dr. Maria Jibaja-Weiss, director of the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities. “We have such a diverse population in Houston, and our goal is to raise awareness and show these patients where to start in the health system, and where they can obtain quality services.”

The Office of Outreach and Health Disparities has received positive feedback and results from partners and audience members, with 85 percent of attendees reporting that they are likely to encourage their friends and family to seek screening services. Audience members cite that the original script, quality acting, 20-minute run time and informal setting are all qualities that make the monologues a memorable form of outreach and education.

From mid-September 2014 through December 2015, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities hosted 55 monologues and six full-length plays in Harris County, which were attended by a total of 2,357 people, with an average size of 30 guests per monologue and 122 per play.

The Office of Outreach and Health Disparities also partners with the Michael DeBakey High School for Health Professions to create an Art Car promoting healthy diets for the annual city-wide parade. Named Toni the Healthy Eating Cart, the festive car is decorated like a fruit stand, overflowing with fruits and vegetables to demonstrate the power of nutrition and teach children healthy eating habits.

The Office of Outreach and Health Disparities also executes a series of projects funded by Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), including the Community Network for Cancer Prevention, in partnership with Harris Health, which provides outreach and education materials with a focus on breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, written in both English and Spanish. This funding has also allowed the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities to develop a series of point-of-care videos patients can watch prior to their doctors’ appointments so they know what to expect and what to ask their doctors. The most popular video details the steps to take in preparation for a colonoscopy.

Additionally, through CPRIT funding, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities provides a patient navigation project, which helps to ensure newly diagnosed patients do not miss their follow-up appointments.

To continue to spread their outreach efforts, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities is developing a tenth monologue addressing the HPV vaccine, geared toward Hispanic parents. The Office is also working to create recorded video versions of the monologues to be more widely distributed to counties beyond Harris.

For more information about the community events from the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities, or to schedule a monologue, call (713) 798-3636 or visit www.bcm.edu/cancercenter/prevention.Since its founding in 2007, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities in Baylor College of Medicine’s NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center has been dedicated to ensuring the large, diverse and underserved populations of Houston and Harris Country receive the latest information about cancer prevention and treatment.

The primary goal of the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities is to increase community-level awareness of cancer and cancer screening, understanding the vital role that outreach and involvement play in the community. To reach at-risk communities on the ground level, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities has developed a series of events, programs and educational tools designed to resonate with a range of audiences.

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Using unique monologues the Theater Outreach Program aims to reach at-risk communities.

One of the most successful of these initiatives has been the Theater Outreach Program, which consists of nine unique monologues, each aimed at one of three underserved demographics within Harris County, including African American, Hispanic and Vietnamese.

Each monologue is created to serve its respective demographic while bridging language barriers, and is written and performed by people in those communities, with the content being vetted by Baylor’s clinical advisory board for accuracy and relevance.

The monologues address breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer, and are accompanied by program information and healthcare offerings at area clinics. The performances are often requested by partner organizations such as Harris Health, American Cancer Society and Neighborhood Services, among others, to educate and engage their patients about screenings and treatment options in an interactive way.

“It is important to use innovative approaches to reach your communities in a way that is familiar and entertaining to them,” said Dr. Maria Jibaja-Weiss,  director of the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities. “We have such a diverse population in Houston, and our goal is to raise awareness and show these patients where to start in the health system, and where they can obtain quality services.”

The Office of Outreach and Health Disparities has received positive feedback and results from partners and audience members, with 85 percent of attendees reporting that they are likely to encourage their friends and family to seek screening services. Audience members cite that the original script, quality acting, 20-minute run time and informal setting are all qualities that make the monologues a memorable form of outreach and education.

From mid-September 2014 through December 2015, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities hosted 55 monologues and six full-length plays in Harris County, which were attended by a total of 2,357 people, with an average size of 30 guests per monologue and 122 per play.

The Office of Outreach and Health Disparities also partners with the Michael DeBakey High School for Health Professions to create an Art Car promoting healthy diets for the annual city-wide parade. Named Toni the Healthy Eating Cart, the festive car is decorated like a fruit stand, overflowing with fruits and vegetables to demonstrate the power of nutrition and teach children healthy eating habits.

The Office of Outreach and Health Disparities also executes a series of projects funded by Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), including the Community Network for Cancer Prevention, in partnership with Harris Health, which provides outreach and education materials with a focus on breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, written in both English and Spanish. This funding has also allowed the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities to develop a series of point-of-care videos patients can watch prior to their doctors’ appointments so they know what to expect and what to ask their doctors. The most popular video details the steps to take in preparation for a colonoscopy.

Additionally, through CPRIT funding, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities provides a patient navigation project, which helps to ensure newly diagnosed patients do not miss their follow-up appointments.

To continue to spread their outreach efforts, the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities is developing a tenth monologue addressing the HPV vaccine, geared toward Hispanic parents. The Office is also working to create recorded video versions of the monologues to be more widely distributed to counties beyond Harris.

For more information about the community events visit the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities, or to schedule a monologue, call (713) 798-3636 or visit www.bcm.edu/cancercenter/prevention.