While rural–urban cancer disparities persist, the research building capacity between rural communities and high-quality cancer centers remains limited. Thus, we describe how a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center partnered with rural community stakeholders to adapt a cancer prevention-focused research and community capacity-building workshop. The workshop’s goal was to strengthen community-academic partnerships and facilitate the development of sustainable well-resourced rural cancer-focused research. Researchers from the Siteman Cancer Center partnered with community leaders from rural counties in southern Illinois. We adapted the workshop from an existing evidence-based program. We analyzed changes in knowledge and research capacity and relevance to their community work. From February to May 2019, community partners guided all elements of the workshop development. Workshop participants were mostly White race (93%), had a college degree or beyond (75%), reported living in a rural community (93%), and represented an academic, faith-based, or healthcare institution (78%). Participants’ mean knowledge scores of the presented content increased significantly after each session, from 9.3 to 9.9 for session 1 (p = 0.05) and 6.8 to 9.7 (p < 0.001) for session two. Through the workshop, participant scores also increased in research capacity skills, confidence, and their understanding of conducting research in the community. The workshop, co-curated and led by rural community leaders and researchers from Siteman Cancer Center, successfully increased knowledge of and interest in building cancer research capacity. Lessons from our work can inform the implementation of similar programs that address rural cancer health through research and community capacity building between rural community partners and urban cancer centers.
- Cancer disparities
- Colorectal cancer
- Community-based participatory research
- Community-institutional relations
- Rural health