Reducing Environmental and Occupational Cancer Risks Toolkit

2. SEEK ADDITIONAL STRATEGIC PARTNERS

Opportunities for strategic partnerships also exist with additional organizations, particularly those that bring the capacity to help design and advance intervention strategies. Other partners to consider engaging include for example:

  1. State environmental justice offices
  2. Environmental regulatory agencies, such as those responsible for air and water quality
  3. Sustainability departments within businesses, universities, and government agencies
  4. Environmental advocacy and occupational safety and health advocacy organizations
  5. Other research institutions with expertise in environmental and occupational health and other aligned fields
  6. Unions/organized labor

The Resources section for Module 2 outlines a range of content matter experts as well as those with deep knowledge about communities impacted by environmental/occupational cancer risks to consider engaging. 

As mentioned earlier, engaging non-traditional partnerships is crucial if cancer coalitions are to expand capacity to address environmental/occupational cancer risks. Many diseases share the same risk factors. For example, many chemicals that are associated with asthma (such as formaldehyde or fine particulate air pollution) are also risk factors for lung cancers. The more we can align resources across chronic disease programs (public health programming, research, and advocacy) within state health departments, the more capacity there will be to advance specific strategies. Other government agencies, including environmental protection agencies, environmental justice offices, economic development and transportation offices each have programs and policies that can be leveraged to support cancer risk reduction efforts. Prioritizing long-term or task-specific engagement with traditional and non-traditional partners around goal setting, cancer risk reduction strategy development, and implementation processes will strengthen the coalition’s capacity to effectively address environmental and occupational risk factors.  

Strategies for Engagement

In 2022, the National Association for Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hosted a webinar to explore how partnerships and policy engagement can be effective approaches for integrating environmental carcinogen reduction into cancer prevention and control.

Click below to watch NACDD webinar:

Play Video

An NACDD webinar brief derived from panelist discussion during the webinar above identified techniques that cancer coalitions could use in nurturing new value-added collaborations, including:

Asking the question: “Who else can be allies in the effort to reduce occupational and environmental cancer risks” will generate more ideas of new strategic partners with interests aligned with the goal of reducing environmental and occupational cancer risks. Many of these individuals and organizations may not even be aware of the state-wide comprehensive cancer control plan and the opportunities it offers through state programs, policies, and collective coalition member action to scale change.

Carcinogen or cancer-type teams provide a vehicle for people to collaborate to reduce cancer risk with a focus on environmental and occupational carcinogens. 

Module 5 elevates the need to support authentic and meaningful engagement with environmental justice communities and/or their representative organizations.  These partners are crucial for advancing health equity. Their observations and sensitivities from their lived experience can ensure that targets and strategies for reducing environmental cancer risk will succeed.

As highlighted in Module 2, fostering additional partnerships with scientific experts can advance understanding of the signals in the data and contribute to setting risk reduction priorities.

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