In recognition of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Baylor College of Medicine’s Office of Outreach and Health Disparities, part of the National Cancer Institute-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, has launched a collaboration with VIETV, digital channel 55.5, to generate awareness about the disease in one of Houston’s largest demographics.

“The Office of Outreach and Health Disparities has been engaged for several years with the Vietnamese community in Houston through our community theater program, but we want to expand the reach of our performances to a greater number of people,” said Dr. Maria Jibaja-Weiss, director of the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities at Baylor. “People of Vietnamese descent have a higher risk for colorectal cancer; it is actually the No. 3 killer in cancer-related mortality in men and women aged 50 and older in this population, and we hope that by engaging with this community through its largest television network we will open the dialogue on screening and prevention.”

The collaboration between VIETV and the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities began with collaborators in the Vietnamese community, who presented the idea of putting the existing monologues on television. The Office ran the idea by its monologue performers, playwright and videographer, and they all agreed on it. By airing the monologues on TV, the Office hopes to reach a large part of the Vietnamese community.

The resulting collaboration is the first multi-series project the office has produced and will feature a 12-part series of alternating colorectal and cervical cancer monologues, performed in Vietnamese, which will air on the network throughout the year. The first 12-minute monologue will air in the heart of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, on March 15 at 7:45 p.m.

“Through this outreach collaboration, we hope viewers are encouraged to get screened and that they spread the word about cancer prevention. Our ultimate goal is to generate awareness about colorectal cancer and how to detect it early,” said Allison Rosen, lead project coordinator and leader of the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities’ colorectal cancer campaign.

For more information about the Office of Outreach and Health Disparities, its services and its involvement throughout the Houston community, visit its website.