Office for Cancer Health Equity (OCHE) - Penn State Cancer Institute

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Office for Cancer Health Equity (OCHE)

Outreach H2

Infographic that describes the Penn State Cancer Institute catchment area demographics. Map of Pennsylvania in the middle that shows of the 28 counties in the catchment area, 19 are in Appalachia. Top to bottom on the left side of the map, the following information is displayed: 4 million total population; 1/3 of the population of Pennsylvania; 42% rural. Top to bottom on the right side of the map, the following information is displayed: 85% white alone, not Hispanic or Latino, 8% Hispanic or Latino, 5% Black or African American.

Reducing the Burden of Cancer in Central Pennsylvania

Outreach Overview

The Penn State Cancer Institute serves central Pennsylvania, our 28-county catchment area, with world-class care, research, training and outreach. Our healthcare providers, researchers, staff and students want to help you and your loved ones lead healthier lives! Together, we can make a difference in central Pennsylvania.

Central Pennsylvania is a unique and exciting place. The region is a thriving mix of rural communities, friendly boroughs, historic towns, and bustling cities. The population is racially and ethnically diverse.

Being a part of Pennsylvania State University, we bring a wealth of cutting-edge research and resources to residents throughout Pennsylvania. Our collective mission is to reduce the burden of cancer through services that ‘make a difference’, especially for those who are at highest risk of cancer’s devastating impact. We are as equally as focused upon preventing cancer from occurring, finding cancer early, treating cancer with the latest therapies, and helping cancer survivors enjoy life to its fullest. We are actively engaged with patient navigators, community health workers and promotoras because they serve a critical role in cancer outreach, research and care.

We don’t do this alone. We recognize that residents, community-based organizations, and policy-makers have a vital role in achieving the vision that no one will die from cancer in central Pennsylvania. Indeed, everyone has a unique and essential part to play. This is an ambitious vision, but together we can achieve it.

For more information, including receiving a list of manuscripts and reports on cancer and cancer control in central Pennsylvania, contact

About Our Catchment Area Basic Content


The mission of OCHE is to foster bilateral engagement between communities and partners in central Pennsylvania and Penn State that advances cancer health equity and reduces cancer burden for all. This engagement provides a foundation for world-class cancer research, care, outreach, education and policy development.

The vision of OCHE is to make certain no one in central Pennsylvania develops a preventable cancer or dies prematurely from cancer.

OCHE Focus

OCHE work is composed of:

  • Mapping and disseminating data on cancer and its determinants in central Pennsylvania and beyond. To see more data on cancer visit LionVu.
  • Promoting patient navigation to reduce the burden of cancer
  • Advising the Penn State Cancer Institute on culturally appropriate clinical care
  • Helping to assure that minority and underserved populations have access to cancer education and research.

OCHE Central Pennsylvania Focus Area:

  • The Penn State Cancer Institute’s 28-county area comprises 4 million people.
  • OCHE is dedicated to relieving cancer burden for all populations, especially those in racial and ethnic minorities and rural populations.


Nested Applications


Hispanic/Latino Community Cancer Advisory Board (CAB)

Established in 2018, the Hispanic/Latino Community Cancer Advisory Board (CAB) serves as a bridge between the Penn State Cancer Institute (PSCI) and the Hispanic/Latino community in the PSCI focus area. Specifically, the CAB:

  1. Advises the PSCI on cancer or cancer risk factors affecting Hispanics
  2. Advises the PSCI on strategies to improve the care and health outcomes for Hispanics
  3. Advises the PSCI on culturally appropriate clinical care
  4. Helps conduct outreach and education in the Hispanic community
  5. Reviews PSCI's research protocols addressing the Hispanic community
  6. Promotes the participation of Hispanics in PSCI research studies

Composed of 18 community members, the CAB is co-chaired by a community member and an academic member and meets quarterly at a different member’s organization.

Cancer Navigation and Survivorship Network (CaNSuN)

The Cancer Navigation and Survivorship Network (CaNSuN) is a resource hub for patient navigation throughout Pennsylvania. CaNSuN’s mission is to connect, educate and share best practices among patient navigators in Pennsylvania so that together we can reduce barriers and increase access to cancer prevention, screening, treatment and survivorship services for all.

Get Checked PA!: A training program for Community Health Workers (CHWs)

Established in 2022, Get Checked PA! is an evidence-based, multi-component initiative designed to reduce the cancer burden in Pennsylvania through the work of Community Health Workers (CHWs). Get Checked PA! is a train-the-trainer program to support instructors in CHW training programs and CHWs working in the field. A primary component is an interactive curriculum that equips CHWs with the knowledge and competency to improve cancer screening and early detection strategies in their community. Get Checked PA! provides participants with continuing education credits from the PA CHW Certification Board. One participant reported, “I enjoyed the overall content. The detailed information about certain types of cancer was very well explained and illustrated."

Get Checked PA! is developing a mentored, apprenticeship program with health care and community-based organizations who employ one of our graduates for cancer prevention and control.


The OCHE has developed LionVu - a free online mapping resource and data portal.  LionVu can be used by community members, program managers and researchers to understand the impact of cancer and cancer risk on communities throughout Pennsylvania.  LionVu has more than 400 data variables, including social determinants of health, health care access and cancer outcomes.

Precision Cancer Screening Navigation

The OCHE works to increase cancer survivorship by navigating patients to cancer early detection, such as mammography for breast cancer screening. OCHE social workers work closely with individual patients to overcome barriers to screening services and follow-up care.