Summer is always a busy season for our community engagement events. And, that was especially true recently when our Community Engagement and Health Equity (CEHE) team supported Cancer Center members at two community events in one day: oral health awareness to prevent cancer and cervical cancer awareness and prevention.

Oral Health Awareness Community Engagement

At the UI Health Mile Square Health Center (MSHC) in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, Cancer Center member Joel Schwartz, DMD, PhD, and Sodabeh Etminan DMD, MPH, who is the Dental Director there, shared information about accessible dental care, behavioral health, and primary care resources available at the clinic, while showing new data on the importance of preventing infection and brushing teeth to prevent cancer. 

It was the second time Schwartz, part of the Cancer Center’s Translational Oncology research program, the clinic, and the Cancer Center’s CEHE team hosted an event there. They talked with community members about how bacteria in our mouths are linked to oral cancer risk and how better oral health starts with teeth brushing so they can help to spread the word to family, friends and their networks.

Cervical Cancer Awareness

Meanwhile, also on June 28, Cancer Center members Hunter Holt, MD, and Caryn Peterson, PhD, both part of the Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control research program, were back in Chicago’s Riverdale community at the Chicago Public Library’s Altgeld branch to share information about cervical cancer.

This was the second time Hunter, Peterson and the Cancer Center’s CEHE team collaborated with community partners to host a community event there focused on cervical cancer because rates of new cases and deaths from the disease are disproportionately high in the far southeast side neighborhood.

The community partner organizations included the Chicago Family Health Center, TCA Health and People for Community Recovery.

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