May 15, 2018

Catchment Areas and Community Outreach and Engagement: The New Mandate for NCI-Designated Cancer Centers

By Miguel Valdez Soto

In 2012 (PAR 12-298), the NCI Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) required that designated cancer centers identify and describe their Catchment Area (CA) and document ongoing research that specifically addresses the cancer burden, risk factors, incidence, morbidity, mortality, and inequities, in the CA (1). The latest release of the Cancer Centers FOA in 2016 (PAR 17-095) was expanded to include a section on Community Outreach and Education (COE; ref. 2). Although these mandates are included in the FOA, only limited guidance is offered on what should be included in these sections to assist in preparing competitive applications. Here, we provide our opinion, based on guidance provided in the FOA, on how to approach both CA descriptions and COE sections to (i) prepare Cancer Center Support Grants (CCSG) applications; (ii) serve as a guidance for reviewers of these sections; and (iii) most importantly, truly understand and address the burden of cancer in a defined CA. The overall goal of these mandates from our perspective is to have a greater impact on the cancer burden in the CA's of the 69 NCI-designated cancer centers, and hopefully the United States in general. In this commentary, we include examples of how our respective cancer centers are using data to guide our efforts to address the cancer burden in our CAs and the indicators we are using to evaluate these efforts.

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