OHSU Knight Cancer Institute funds 13 projects to address cancer-related health needs in Oregon

Kaleigh Bellinger (right) talks to Michelle Gibson, LCSW, a grief counselor at Thadd’s Place, a grief support center in John Day, Oregon. The organization is named after 39-year-old cancer patient and Grant County resident Thaddeus Cowan Thompson who died in 2019. Thadd’s Place received a grant from the Community Partnership Program to develop resources to help cancer patients and their families through the grieving process. from diagnosis to treatment and end of life. (Photo courtesy of Thadd’s Place)

The Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program has awarded $320,000 to 13 community-led projects across the state to address cancer-related needs.

The latest funding round supports 10 new projects and continues to fund three others, together targeting a wide range of cancer types and demographics. For the first time, the program has funded projects in Baker City, Gresham and John Day.

The Community Partnership Program works with communities in Oregon on projects ranging from cancer prevention to survival. The program offers multiple levels of funding to help local organizations identify cancer-related needs and create solutions.

In John Day, the Thadd’s Place funeral home received funding to develop programs to support cancer patients and families. The center currently offers general support groups and individual counseling for children and adults.

“We create tailored resources and support groups for cancer patients and their families to help them navigate the grieving process, from diagnosis to treatment and the end of life,” says Sylvia Ross, secretary at Thadd’s Place. “Currently, there are no emotional support services for anticipatory grief in Grant County and this grant will change that.”

The Oregon School-Based Health Alliance, a statewide nonprofit organization, has received funding to expand its program designed to increase young people’s knowledge of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, and HPV-related cancers through peer-led education in health classes at urban and rural-elevation schools.

HPV can cause six types of cancer, and the vaccine can prevent up to 90% of those cancers. In 2020, only 55% of youth ages 13 to 17 in Oregon completed HPV vaccination.

“There is a need for HPV prevention education across Oregon, says” Maureen Hinman, interim director at the Oregon School-Based Health Alliance. “Our first grant from the Community Partnership Program enabled us to develop a peer education session on HPV that successfully increased HPV immunization in participating health clinics. This new funding will allow us to expand the program to more schools in Multnomah and Hood River counties.”

In addition to supporting projects in urban and rural areas, many of the newly funded projects will develop programs to support black, indigenous, Hispanic and Asian communities.

Jacklien Shannon, Ph.D., RD

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with community organizations on projects that will not only have a positive impact locally but also help reduce the burden of cancer in Oregon,” says Jackilen Shannon, Ph.D., RD, co-director of the Community Partnership Program and associate director of community outreach and engagement at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “Together we are making progress in our mission to end cancer as we know it.”

Organizations receiving funding in this grant cycle include:

Asian Health and Service Center, Portland Candlelighters For Children With Cancer, Portland Community Development Corporation of Oregon, Gresham Crook County Health Department, Prineville Gorge Grown Food Network, Hood River Mosaic Medical, Bend* Native American Youth and Family Center, Portland* Oregon School -Based Health Alliance, Portland* Pink Lemonade Project, Portland Saint Alphonsus Medical Center, Baker City Thadd’s Place, John Day UKANDU, Portland Urban League of Portland, Portland

* project continuations

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