Community–academic partnerships to reduce cancer inequities: The chicagoCHEC community engagement core

Document Type


Publication Date



Background: In 2015, Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (ChicagoCHEC) was formed to address cancer inequities. The Community Engagement Core (CEC) is one of the key components aimed at establishing meaningful partnerships between the academic institutions and the community. Herein, we describe ChicagoCHEC CEC processes, challenges, opportunities, successes, and preliminary evaluation results. Methods: CEC stresses participatory and empowerment approaches in all aspects of ChicagoCHEC work. Evaluation processes were conducted to assess, report back, and respond to community needs and to evaluate the strength of the partnership. Results: CEC has facilitated meaningful community integration and involvement in all ChicagoCHEC work. The partnership resulted in annual cancer symposium; more than 50 outreach and education activities, including cancer screening and referrals; the development of health resources; and providing expertise in culturally and health literacy appropriate research targeting minorities. Preliminary partnership evaluation results show that ChicagoCHEC researchers and community partners have developed trust and cohesiveness and value the community benefits resulting from the partnership. Conclusions: CEC is essential in achieving research objectives following community participatory action research (CPAR) approaches. Some key lessons learned include 1) the need for clear, honest, and open channels of communication not only among the three participating academic institutions, but also among the community partners, 2) transparent operational processes, and 3) mutual trust and understanding regarding the different cultures, structure, foci and processes, expectations at each institution and partnering organization.



Publication Title

Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action

Volume Number


Issue Number

Special Issue 2019

First Page


Last Page




This document is currently not available here.