CIHDRCenter for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research (Chicago, IL)
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Through the 49 focus groups, CIHDR investigators met a number of women who expressed interest in working with the team to further CIHDR's scientific mission.
The first activity in which the CAB partnered with investigators was the half-day South Side Breast Cancer Conference held at the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church on the South Side during the second year of CIHDR's operations.
To implement this action step, the CAB and investigators decided to use input from CIHDR's five South Side Chicago high school students who were serving as summer apprentices to CIHDR's research projects.
Members of the CAB and summer apprentices presented findings either independently or with CIHDR investigators at professional meetings and in community venues.
In the fourth year of CIHDR funding, a group of dedicated community members; academic investigators from a number of local universities, including a sister health disparities center at the University of Illinois at Chicago that was funded by the same mechanism as CIHDR (Warnecke et al., 2008); and clinicians formed a collaboration named the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.
When CIHDR was developed in 2003, no community organizations were considered well enough positioned to represent South Side Chicago concerns about breast cancer and related issues; however, two changes had occurred by the end of CIHDIR's first five years of funding.
The CIHDR team gathered evidence for its model of how social environmental factors affect African American and white breast cancer disparities (Gehlert, Sohmer, et al., 2008).
The CIHDR vertically oriented model of social environment and gene interactions starts at the top with race, poverty, disruption, and neighborhood crime; moves to social isolation, acquired vigilance, and depression; then to stress-hormone dynamics; and finally to cell survival and tumor development (Gehlert, Sohmer, et al., 2008).
The CIHDR team of social, behavioral, and biological investigators began its operations by listening to community voices to understand how the life experiences and social circumstances of South Side Chicago residents might "get under the skin" to influence biological and clinical outcomes that lead to African American and white breast cancer disparities.
The CIHDR team found that codifying agreements with community partners well in advance of the research project makes the inevitable conflicts manageable that arise when parties with disparate perspectives work together.