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Community Outreach Advocacy - pg 2

A New Model of Community Outreach Advocacy

We continue to support the traditional old model of community outreach advocacy as outlined above. But in this section of the website we would like to expand their role and show that since they are the closest advocates to people with cancer in their community, they should also be crossed trained to function in all other areas of cancer advocacy.

Please refer to our new image depicting this. As you can see below, some community outreach advocates will continue to stay in one area and follow the old model, others will stand in the center with the patient and advocate on topics covered by all of the other areas of cancer advocacy as well.

   

 
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We will now discuss how community outreach advocates can have an important role in the other areas of cancer advocacy depicted above.

Community Outreach Advocates: Education

Health literacy in this country is very low. Most people do not understand very important information about the benefits and risks of screening, risk assessment or prevention strategies, treatment decisions, second opinions, shared decision making, clinical trials and tissue donation.

What can these advocates do?
Education Easel Cancer 101 Image  

The goal of advocacy in this area is to inform and educate the community.

Community advocates think about education and information first. It’s never too early to talk about cancer and how it will impact the cancer patient and their families.

 

Community advocates also think collaboratively. They understand that a group working together can accomplish much more than an individual working alone. In order to promote collaboration:

  • Community advocates work hard to break down protective barriers of competing health care institutions and agencies.
  • They convince diverse groups of the value to them and the community to work together on a particular project or problem. This is something these institutions would not normally do without the encouragement of a community advocate.

The main thing the advocate is concerned with is that the outcome of the project or program will benefit the patients and their families, which in turn benefits the community, however that community is defined.

Why is it important?

There are many myths and misconceptions about cancer in most communities and the community advocate can educate and dispel some of those myths and misconceptions.

It is vital that the community outreach advocates be familiar with the communities they are reaching out to, so they can impart the information in a culturally sensitive way.

Most of the time the community outreach advocate is a member of the community they are trying to inform or educate. By being a member of that community they can speak to them in a language they understand.

       
Cartoon Hands  Reaching Up  

They are also aware of how that community thinks about cancer and what their fears and misconceptions may be.

 
       

Examples of how Community Outreach Advocates and help with regard to Education:

  • A community advocate can give talks to the healthy general public about cancer so if they or someone they know develops cancer, they will be knowledgeable about how to proceed.

    • Once diagnosed, people find it difficult to learn new important informational steps while experiencing stress and fear.

  • A community advocate can give talks to those already diagnosed
    • Hearing form a survivor brings not only necessary first hand experiences but also stories of hope.
  • A community outreach advocate could review materials that are being planned for distribution in their community to make sure the information is easy to understand and in language that the average person in the community will be able to understand.
    • When healthcare professionals create materials they often use language that is familiar to them but very unfamiliar to the lay public.

  • An advocate can also look at pictures and symbols on printed materials for their community to make sure they are appropriate and do not represent something that may have a different meaning.
    • A native American advocate has to adjust many pictures on an educational brochure that was being produced for her community.
  • There are many current opportunities for a community advocate to help members in their communities with insurance enrollment and with insurance billing issues.
    • A young women who helped her mother with her insurance issues during her treatment soon learned that many of her mothers’ friends also needed help.
  • Sometimes an advocate will be on a panel with scientists or other health care providers to give a patient or caregiver perspective.
    • Medical information is vital but it also helps to hear from someone who has walked the path before you.
  • Some communities utilize “Promotoras”
    • These are usually women who live in the community and visit their neighbors acting as a lay health educator providing information and resources.

 

 

 

 
 
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