The Geographic Health Equity Alliance (GHEA) is partnering with SelfMade Health Network and Nuestras Voces Adelante Network to host a four-part webinar series titled “Upstream Approaches in Cancer Prevention.” This series focuses on policy, systems, and environmental change strategies that address upstream social determinants of health that contribute to an increased cancer burden .It will focus on HPV vaccination, broadband access, food and nutritional security and the built environment.

On March 21st Dr. Whitney Zahnd from the Advancing Cancer and Rural Equity (ACRE) Lab at the University of Iowa hosted part 2 of this series with a webinar titled: “Advocating for Policy Change to Support Expansion of Broadband Access.” In this webinar, Dr. Zahnd addressed the following objectives:

  • To understand the role that broadband access can play in cancer prevention and control.
  •  To use data to advocate for policy change for broadband access.
  • To identify partners and policy levers for broadband access.

The webinar provided an overview of broadband definitions, highlighting a recent change in how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benchmarks broadband deployment.  Additionally, Dr. Zahnd showed that broadband access is now considered a super-determinant of health that plays an important role in health outcomes. She went on to highlight the role that broadband access plays in cancer prevention and control, specifically accessing cancer-related information, facilitating telehealth virtual visits, supporting remote patient monitoring of symptoms and medication tracking, allowing patient portal access, and supporting “Project ECHO”.

The webinar also presented several sources of information to advocate for policy change related to broadband access in a cancer context, such as briefs from the NCI’s Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) which provides information about use of technology to access cancer-related data.  Additionally, sources of broadband access, speed, and funding are provided focusing on geographic data that may help target policies and funding.

Finally, the webinar discussed the importance of federal and state policies, highlighting the numerous federal agencies that have played an increasing role in broadband access since the COVID-19 pandemic as well as important state-level policy levers related to governance, funding, and infrastructure.

The webinar recording is available here, and the slides are available here.

See below for more information on parts 3-4 of this webinar series:

  • Part 3: “Integrating Nutrition and Healthcare: The Essentials of the Food is Medicine Initiative” will be on Thursday, April 18th, 2024 from 2:00 PM- 3:00 PM EST. This webinar will feature Heather Latino from Harvad Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, Meghana Sai Iragavarapu from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Pranaya Pahwa from Harvard Law School. The panelists will address how Food is Medicine (FIM) bridges the gap between our healthcare and food system, emphasizing the crucial role of nutritious food in preventing and managing chronic illnesses and enhancing overall health. This presentation will define the Food is Medicine approach, detailing its practical applications, benefits, and the funding strategies supporting these programs across the countryRegistration is now open.
  • Part 4: “Introduction to Built Environment Approaches for Addressing Health” will be held on May 7th at 12 PM EST. In this webinar Taylor March from Missourians for Responsible Transportation, a non-profit advocacy group addressing the built environment in rural and urban settings in Missouri, will lead us in looking at upstream cancer prevention through built environment approaches. Using examples from the experiences of MRT’s work in Missouri, attendees will gain insights into harnessing the power of environmental interventions to address social determinants of health and reduce cancer burden. We will look at the built environment’s role in shaping health outcomes, particularly in cancer prevention. With a focus on policy, systems, and environmental changes, we will delve into the intersectionality of factors such as urban planning, infrastructure, housing and the policy history of the United States’ development patterns in mitigating cancer risks. Registration is now open.