• Assessment of distress, unmet needs, and receipt of care plans among cancer survivors in Georgia

      Escoffery, Cam; Patterson, Angie; Paris, Nancy; Kirsch, Logan; Frank, Cassiopeia; O'Connor, Jean (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Cancer survivors have distinctive healthcare needs. The Survivorship Working Group of the Georgia Cancer Control Consortium conducted an assessment to understand the physical, psychological, practical, and spiritual needs of adult cancer survivors; patient perceptions regarding patient-provider communications; and their perceived need for services. Methods: In 2014, a convenience sample of Georgia cancer survivors completed a paper or online survey about the presence of and distress associated with unmet physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical needs, and receipt of assistance in those areas. They were also asked about receipt of cancer treatment and survivorship care plans. Results: Survivors were primarily female, married, White, and within 5 years of treatment. High proportions reported moderate to extreme levels of distress with depression (32.7%), anxiety (32.1%), stress (30.2%), and fear of recurrence (28.2%). Many reported no receipt of assistance in emotional needs such as changing relationships and defining a new normal and physical needs such as intimacy and body image. Fewer than half (48%) reported having received a cancer treatment summary from their physician and only 37% received a survivorship care plan. Of those who received either, 98% reported that the information was helpful. Conclusions: Cancer survivors in Georgia who responded to the survey had unmet needs, especially related to physical and mental health. More widespread adoption of guidelines of the Commission on Cancer, including the use of distress screening tools, would assist providers in addressing identified needs directly or through referrals. A limitation is that the racial and ethnic minority participation of 20.1% is insufficient to generalize results to all cancer survivors in Georgia. Subsequent surveys would benefit from targeted approaches to reach diverse and underserved survivors.
    • Assessment of the Building Collaborative Research Capacity Model: Bridging the community-academic researcher divide

      Akintobi, Tabia Henry; Wilkerson, Donoria Evans; Rodgers, Kirsten; Escoffery, Cam; Haardoeerfer, Regine; Kegler, Michelle; Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia College and State University, Emory University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Community–based Participatory Research (CBPR) can be challenging when community leaders and academic researchers have not previously co-led research or worked together with established rules guiding their relationships, roles, and respective functions. The objective of this investigation was to assess the processes and outcomes of the Building Collaborative Research Capacity Grant Program, sponsored by the Community Engagement Research Program of The Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute and designed to foster CBPR. Methods: Four competitively selected community-based organizations (CBOs) participated in capacity-building workshops designed to build research skills and receive technical assistance to plan a pilot study with academic researchers. Pre- and post-surveys were used to assess the impact of the training and technical assistance on the CBOs’ knowledge and skills and abilities to plan, implement, and evaluate research. Key informant interviews were conducted with academic researchers and CBO dyads to identify experiences, perceptions, and recommendations related to the program model, and seven identified domains of collaborative research including research skills, attitudes toward collaboration, shared goals, institutional factors, mutual respect, human and fiscal resources, and partnering skills. Results: Areas of research competency increased from pre- to post-survey, with statistically significant increases in Community Assessment (p= 0.046) and Program Planning (p= 0.046). Each partnership had inherent characteristics related to strengths and barriers affecting the research outcomes. Conclusions: The present results contribute to the literature through assessment of processes, outcomes, and partner insights of a model designed to facilitate collaborative community-engaged research partnerships. Future research should examine the model to expand understanding of the dimensions of effective community and academic research collaboration.