During the public health crisis caused by COVID-19, local organizations that serve patients with cancer were faced with unanticipated challenges amid an extended shelter-in-place lockdown. In-person community events had to be cancelled or moved to a virtual setting, and normal activities were disrupted, leaving some underserved populations even more vulnerable than usual.
To address the crisis, the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity (OCECHE) sprang into action. Their first order of business was to call an emergency meeting with members of its Community Advisory Board to address concerns and answer questions related to the COVID-19 crisis. Many participants are community partners—including leaders of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), nonprofit advocacy organizations, support groups, and religious and cultural organizations.
The community leaders shared feedback from their constituents and asked questions regarding coronavirus protocols and cancer treatment at UChicago Medicine. In response to the many questions from these community partners, OCECHE developed community-facing website content to disseminate both general and cancer-specific information on COVID-19 resources.