Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S and a source of large racial and ethnic disparities in population health. Policy development is a powerful but sometimes overlooked public health tool for reducing cancer burden and disparities. Along with other partners in the public health system, community-based organizations such as local cancer councils can play valuable roles in developing policies that are responsive to community needs and in mobilizing resources to support policy adoption and implementation. This paper examines the current and potential roles played by local cancer councils to reduce cancer burden and disparities. Responsive public health systems require vehicles for communities to engage in policy development. Cancer councils provide promising models of engagement. Untapped opportunities exist for enhancing policy development through cancer councils, such as expanding targets of engagement to include private-sector stakeholders and expanding methods of engagement utilizing the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, v. 25, no. 1, p. 139-150.

Copyright © 2014 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, Volume 25, Issue 1, February, 2014, pages 139-150.

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The work reported in this document was supported by the National Cancer Institute, Arkansas Cancer Community Network (AR-CCN) Grant # (U01 CA114607).