CDC grant to establish cancer-prevention program
The S.C. Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the University of South Carolina has been named one of 10 Cancer Prevention and Research Centers in the nation.
The selection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) comes with a $1.5 million grant and puts the center among the top cancer-research programs in the country, including Harvard University, the University of Washington, UCLA, the University of North Carolina and Washington University in St. Louis.
Arnold School of Public Health researcher Dr. James Hébert, director of the CPCP, said Carolina brings a wealth of experience in cancer research to the group.
“Building on expertise in diet and physical activity, epidemiology and disease mapping for which the Cancer Prevention and Control Program is well known, our center has developed research programs aimed at healthy eating that could change the face of cancer in South Carolina and beyond,” said Hébert, who recently received the Established Investigator Award in Cancer Prevention from the NCI.
As part of its efforts at cancer prevention, the center will develop a farmers’ market at a community health center to encourage healthy eating as a critical step in reducing cancer among African Americans.
The S.C. Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program’s efforts will involve faculty from the Arnold School of Public Health and other colleges at USC. The market will be accessible to community residents and will offer affordable healthy foods, Hébert said.
“The farmers’ market is a good fit with the national Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network’s goal of applying relevant research to local cancer prevention and control needs,” Hébert said.
“We believe that the farmers’ market will draw community interest and support and provide an opportunity to improve the overall health of people who are at high risk for disease, including many forms of cancer,” he said. “This grant represents the practical approach that we take to advancing public health.”
Dr. Darcy Freedman, a faculty member in the College of Social Work, said university researchers will work with the S.C. Primary Health Care Association to choose a site from one of the state’s Federally Qualified Health Centers, which serve low-income people in urban and rural areas throughout the Palmetto State.
The goal is to have a location and a weekly farmers’ market in place by spring 2011, said Freedman, the project leader for the community health center-based farmers’ market.
Having a farmers’ market at a health center is a novel approach to healthcare, said Freedman, and Carolina’s program will be the first of its kind in the nation.
“We’re working to prove that the best medicine for disease prevention comes from the garden,” she said. “What we learn can be used to develop other centers throughout the United States.”