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Linking Research and Practice through the Comprehensive Cancer Control National Partnership

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The Comprehensive Cancer Control National Partnership (CCCNP) was established in 1998 with a goal of assisting comprehensive cancer control (CCC) coalitions with the development and implementation of their cancer control plans.  This group of leading influential cancer organizations works together to strengthen national CCC efforts.  Each member organization of the CCCNP brings unique strengths to the partnership that are leveraged to enhance cancer control activities at the state, tribe, U.S. Pacific Island Jurisdiction and local levels.  I am pleased to note that the National Cancer Institute has been an active partner in the CCCNP from the very beginning.  I have been honored to represent NCI in the partnership for the past fifteen years and have the opportunity in 2018 to serve as the Chair for the CCCNP.  As I prepare to step into this leadership role, I want to take a moment to reflect on where the CCCNP has been and share the vision for how the CCCNP can continue to support comprehensive cancer control from an implementation science perspective.

From the beginning of the CCCNP, there has been a focus on integrating scientific evidence into cancer control planning efforts.  In the early days, we heard from coalitions that access to evidence-based resources was limited.  Remember, this was long before Google or any other search engine on-line provided quick access to resources.  Each of the CCCNP member organizations had websites but based on feedback from coalition members between 2000 and 2003, we collaborated on the development of Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. (Plan, Link, Act, Network with Evidence-based Tools).  This web portal provides a one-stop location for accessing data and evidence that could be used to inform the development and implementation of cancer control plans and programs an includes links to State Cancer Profiles, Research to Reality, the Community Guide, the US Preventive Services Task Force and the Research Tested Interventions Programs website. 

Over the years, the CCCNP has supported numerous training opportunities for coalitions in the form of Leadership Institutes, technical assistance visits and workshops as well as webinars (to name just a few).  In the early years, we provided in-person training on how to utilize Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. to identify, adapt and implement evidence-based programs and practices.  This training evolved into webinars and the on-line community of practice discussions hosted by Research to Reality website as well as webinars hosted by the American Cancer Society and the George Washington University. 

As our approach to moving research into practice has evolved, we have leveraged the networks and centers that we fund to support the translation of research into practice as well as study the implementation process in cancer control.  NCI and the Centers for Disease Control have funded the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN) since 2002.  As a thematic research network of the Prevention Research Centers, the CPCRN have been regularly engaged with comprehensive cancer control planning and implementation activities.   They created an interactive training curriculum called “Putting Public Health Evidence in Action” to support development of skills in using evidence-based approaches and have delivered the training in many formats including delivery at conferences and meetings and as part of community grants programs.  Members of the CPCRN have also served as subject matter experts for technical assistance workshops and trainings for CCC coalitions.

In the coming year, I hope to build upon the tradition of linking research and practice with the CCCNP.  The current CCCNP priority areas focus on increasing human papillomavirus vaccination uptake, increasing colorectal cancer screening to 80% by 2018, improving healthy behaviors for cancer survivors and sustaining CCC coalitions.  These priority areas offer opportunities for expanding the utilization of evidence-based approaches and programs to benefit the work of coalitions.   

For example, NCI-Designated Cancer Centers offer a great opportunity to link research with practice in CCC.  There are currently 69 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers in the US.  These Cancer Centers are expected to disseminate their research findings for the benefit of the community.  This requirement is enhanced by the most recent Cancer Center Funding Opportunity Announcement that requires community outreach and engagement in the Cancer Center catchment areas.  In recent years, supplements have been issued to NCI-designated cancer centers that enhance connections with state and local CCC coalitions.  For example, two rounds of supplements have been issued to Cancer Centers focused on increasing HPV Vaccination uptake.  Additional opportunities exist in the coming year for engaging NCI-designated Cancer Centers in supporting other CCCNP priority areas such as increasing colorectal cancer screening and sustaining CCC coalitions. 

Opportunities exist to build upon the current evidence-based tools to enhance the work of the CCC coalitions.  An evaluation of the Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. is currently underway.  CCC coalition members are encouraged to respond to the survey and let us know how the tools we currently have can be improved to better meet their needs.  We have begun exploring potential new collaborations between NCI and CDC that can better link the National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program’s Library of Indicators and Data Sources with evidence-based tools.   Throughout the year, I look forward to learning from CCC coalition staff about additional ways we can support them in linking research and practice.