Office for Cancer Health Equity (OCHE)

Office for Cancer Health Equity (OCHE)

Reducing the Burden of Cancer in Central Pennsylvania

One of the key goals of Penn State Cancer Institute is to reduce the burden that cancer places on our communities, especially among particularly vulnerable or susceptible groups.

Through its Office for Cancer health Equity (OCHE), the Cancer Institute provides a number of services, educational opportunities and consultations to help meet this goal across its 28-county catchment area.

The Penn State Cancer Institute 28-county catchment area is depicted on a map of the state of Pennsylvania. All 67 of Pennsylvania's counties are outlined. The five clinically competitive counties - Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks, Lancaster and Cumberland - are toward the southcentral/southeastern part of the state and are marked in one color. Another 10 counties surrounding them to the south, west and north are considered the referral area and are marked in another color. Finally, an additional 13 counties that comprise the rest of the catchment area, mostly to the north of the clinically competitive and referral counties, are added and the whole 28-county area is outlined in a heavy rule. The rest of the counties are uncolored and un-outlined.

About Our Catchment Area

Penn State Cancer Institute's 28-county catchment area comprises 4 million people. Demographics of that group include:

  • 85 percent non-Hispanic white
  • 5 percent African-American
    • Harrisburg is a majority-minority (52 percent) African-American city, 52 percent
  • 8 percent Hispanic/Latino
    • Reading is a majority-minority (58 percent) Hispanic/Latino city
  • 19 percent older than 65
  • 42 percent rural
  • 19 of 28 counties are Appalachian

Priority populations for Penn State Cancer Institute are those in rural, Hispanic/Latino and African-American communities.

Penn State Cancer Institute, in collaboration with Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute and Population Research Institute, produces detailed data and maps on the population, health care systems and cancer within the PSCI catchment area and Pennsylvania.

About Our Office for Cancer Health Equity

Vision: No one in central Pennsylvania develops a preventable cancer or dies prematurely from cancer.

Mission: The mission of OCHE is to foster sustained bilateral engagement between communities in central Pennsylvania and Penn State University that advances cancer health equity and reduces cancer burden for all. Bilateral engagement serves as a foundation for world-class cancer research, care, outreach, education and policy development.

Mapping health risks and cancer in Pennsylvania (LionVu)

OCHE maps and disseminates data on the cancer and its determinants in Pennsylvania, including the 28-county catchment area of the Penn State Cancer Institute. Learn more about the data and LionVu.

The Story of Cancer in central Pennsylvania

The Story of Cancer in central Pennsylvania is an interactive story map demonstrating that patient navigation can reduce the burden of cancer. Explore the project.

Initiatives of the Office for Cancer Health Equity

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 catchment 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 to the Hispanic community
  5. Reviews PSCI's research protocols addressing the Hispanic community
  6. Promotes the participation of Hispanic 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 on a rotating basis at a different member’s organization. Learn more about the CAB.

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 successfully reduce barriers and increase access to cancer prevention, screening, treatment and survivorship services for all. Learn more about CaNSuN.


Team ROAR is a cadre of community health workers who are trusted members of central Pennsylvania. Through ongoing training and equipping from OCHE, Team ROAR provide education, resources and services on personal level. They are inspired by the message, “Be inspired, take charge and navigate your health.” Learn more about Team ROAR.

Northern Appalachia Cancer Network

The Northern Appalachia Cancer Network is a community/academic partnership that seeks to reduce the cancer burden among rural residents of Pennsylvania through community-based participatory education, training, and engaged cancer research. Learn more about Northern Appalachia Cancer Network.

Pennsylvania Cancer Coalition

OCHE is an active participant of the Pennsylvania Cancer Coalition, especially on topics related the to the human papillomavirus (HPV) and patient navigation. Learn more about Pennsylvania Cancer Coalition.

Contact Us

For details on the Office for Cancer Health Equity (OCHE), contact:

Clinical Trials Search

Children (age < 18 years)
Adults (age >= 18 years)