The CIS of New York receives grant to increase minority access to cancer information on the Web

November 27, 2000

NEW YORK, November 28, 2000 -- The Cancer Information Service (CIS) of New York, which is based at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, was recently awarded one of four grants totaling $932,000 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to improve awareness of and access to Internet-based cancer information in minority communities throughout the country. The CIS of New York will use the grant to implement the Bridging the Digital Divide Project: Your Access to Cancer Information in the Harlem community.

"What is really exciting about this project is that it brings together a host of new community partners to provide cancer information through the Internet. Together, we hope to address the problem called the Digital Divide," said Rosemarie Slevin Perocchia, Director of the Cancer Information Service of New York.

The Digital Divide -- the gap between those who have and those who do not have access to computer technology and the information provided through the Internet -- is considered a significant and growing problem worldwide, especially in the field of health-care.

Research shows that, while knowledge is not a guarantee of good health behavior, it contributes to good health-care decisions and behavior. According to the NCI, at least 50 million Americans -- about 20 percent of the country -- are faced with one or more barriers that prevent them from accessing cancer information on the Internet. These barriers include access to computers, education and literacy.

The Bridging the Digital Divide Project is a unique partnership, which will combine the CIS's expertise on cancer information resources with a diverse group of Harlem community organizations who offer Internet access to residents. The project will provide local residents with instruction on how to utilize on-line resources to learn more about cancer. The community organizations, chosen both because of their commitment to serve the Harlem community and their current computer technology, include: Verizon Technology Education Center, Harlem YMCA Cyberlab, the New York Urban League, Playing 2 Win's Harlem Computing Center, and North General Hospital, including the Helene Fuld College of Nursing.

The CIS is currently developing a workshop curriculum and training for instructors from each of the community organizations. The organizations will then implement the program at each site with workshops designed to help both residents and health-care professionals access credible information on-line about cancer prevention, screening, and treatment, as well as important local and national cancer resources. This instruction will be done using a Web-based training site that the participants will also be able to access and use after the workshop.

"This program is very promising because long after this grant expires, it will still be out in the community. The program will continue to grow and develop, enabling thousands of people to take control of their own health through knowledge," said Perocchia.
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Created in 1976, the CIS is the source for the latest, most accurate cancer information for the American public. The CIS provides up-to-date scientific information in understandable language through its toll-free telephone service (1-800-4-CANCER) where specially trained staff answer calls in English, Spanish, and from the hearing impaired (1-800-332-8615). The CIS also assists organizations in developing education efforts to reach people who do not have easy access to cancer information and services, and studies ways to promote healthy behavior and communicate cancer information effectively.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world's oldest and largest private institution devoted to prevention, patient care, research, and education in cancer. Throughout its long and distinguished history, the Center has played a leadership role in defining the standard of care for patients with cancer.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

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