Take Action! Establish a Diverse Network of Partners
The coalition needs a network of engaged members to be successful. Diverse partners are more impactful, innovative, and productive. Engage partners that represent populations historically underrepresented or marginalized based on race, ethnicity, income, education, gender, sexual orientation, or different abilities. These partners are likely to bring up important goals or barriers that you might not have considered without their perspective.
Prioritize a conversation with your state’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program about how they can be engaged in a lung cancer coalition. They may already have a well-developed program for you to work with or they may want to support the coalition you are building in other ways. Every state’s program operates differently, so it is important to understand the priorities and resources of the program in your state.
- State Health Department
How to Engage
- Ask to meet with the program director for the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program to discuss how lung cancer is incorporated into their cancer plan and their current plans for implementation.
- Reach out to the tobacco program of the state department of health for their engagement and ideas about other local organizations to engage.
- Healthcare Systems and Providers
- Reach out to your local ACS regional partners. They often have relationships with cancer center leadership, PCP leadership, and other key decision-makers in healthcare systems.
- Connect with Comprehensive Cancer Control offices; health systems with cancer centers will likely be among their partners.
- Connect with local state medical societies, like AFP, ACP, or ASCO affiliates, along with state hospital associations.
- National or local nonprofits
- Advocacy organizations
- Many national (and some local) lung cancer nonprofits and advocacy organizations are active in the NLCRT. Reach out to the NLCRT to find the right person within the relevant organization.
- Reach out directly to local nonprofits and advocacy organizations about your initiative. Let them know that you’re interested in learning from them about priorities and goals.
- Contact your local ACS regional partners to learn more about where and how lung cancer is being addressed in your state.
- Contact the ACS Cancer Action Network to learn more about what policies or regulations may impact lung cancer in your state.
- Academic research centers
- Use the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) to identify the principal investigators on lung cancer-related projects in your state and reach out.
- Patients and caregiver groups
- Contact support group facilitators or patient representatives and learn more about their priorities.
- State and regional medical associations and societies
- Use contact information on chapter websites to identify the most relevant member to talk to about a lung cancer coalition.
- Political leadership
- Search bill legislation/proposed legislation for those who have voted in favor of smoke-free policies, radon protective measures in real estate, or funding increases to cancer screening programs. Useful search tools include Congress.gov and Open States.
- State health insurance exchange
- Identify contacts through the state’s Medicaid department or other state public health departments.
- If a relationship exists with individual Medicaid plans, they may be able to provide introductions.
- Large employers
- Consider contacting an Employee Wellness staff member within their Human Resources division or someone in Community Engagement.
- Insurance payers (including private, Medicaid, and Medicare)
- Contact ACS field offices to help connect.
- Your health care provider partners may have relevant contacts.
- Industry (pharma and medical technology)
- Reach out to the foundation/charitable arm of a company in your state (or the company itself if no foundation is present in your state). Identify someone who works in community engagement and ask to meet with them to talk about your desire to build a collaborative partnership in your state.
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)
- Visit County Health Rankings and search for counties in your state that have high adult smoking rates. Reach out to the administration of a large FQHC in that county.
- Behavioral health and substance use treatment providers
- Contact the appropriate regional office of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and ask for connections at the state level. They may also be able to connect you with partner organizations providing these services.
- Radon mitigation associations
- State Departments of Health work with radon mitigation partners and can be useful connectors.
- State cooperative extension services often have radon education and mitigation programs, often partnering with universities. You can find the one in your state here.
- State public health associations
- Indigenous Health Entities
- If your state has a sizable indigenous population, there may be a Tribal Epidemiology Center working with the local American Indian/Alaska Native Tribal communities.
- Faith-Based Organizations
- Ask your state health department or Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition contacts for referrals. Many have active partnerships with faith-based organizations and can introduce you.
- The CDC has partnerships in smoking cessation efforts. You can find more information here.
- Organizations Representing Specific Populations
- Look for organizations that represent diverse communities. This includes groups representing people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and those experiencing poverty or living in rural spaces. Ask your state health department or Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition contacts for referrals.
Tips and Troubleshooting
This section provides insights from coalition leaders on how to overcome common challenges related to building a network.
- Making the case for a lung cancer initiative to potential partners
“Use your data to illustrate the need and make a strong case for a statewide focus on lung cancer. Share your vision for the new initiative or approach and explain how it is different from what is been done before or how it complements what is already being done.”
“Do research on what is important to the organization or person you are hoping to partner with. Ask lots of questions – find out something new about their organization, hear about how they became involved with the organization, and ask where they see the organization going in the next five years. Listen for points of potential crossover with your initiative. The most successful partnerships are win-win situations where both parties gain from the process.”
- Engaging the right partners
ACS regional cancer control field staff and regional ACS CAN staff can often help to engage partners as many ACS staff have relationships across many of these groups. Don’t overlook ACS field staff as valuable connectors.
“I called all the pulmonologists, oncologists, and thoracic surgeons around the state that I knew personally. I explained the need for a State Lung Cancer Roundtable, what the opportunities for improvement were, and what the commitment might be. I asked them if they would suggest or enroll any colleagues that I or they could call I gave them specific opportunities to serve on or chair specific committees. I told them we would meet monthly by phone and annually in person.”
- Finding enough individuals or organizations who are willing to get involved
“Consider whether your initiative can partner with other existing efforts. A full roundtable does not need to be built in every state. If there are existing campaigns around other cancers/all cancers, they may be willing to lend resources that can be adapted toward lung cancer.”
Build a Network Worksheet
This worksheet will help you to establish the diverse partnerships that you need to reach your goal.