MC3 Outreach

Community Engagement Core

Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations (MC3) was created in 2010 when Kola Okuyemi, MD, MPH was awarded a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities grant. MC3’s mission is to reduce cancer disparities experienced by Minnesota’s racial and ethnic minority populations. This is made possible through four operating groups: Administrative Core, Community Engagement Core, Research Core, and a Training Core. For more information MC3, please visit

The Community Engagement Core is co-led by Nancy Raymond, MD, Gloria Contreras from Centro Campesino, and Fartun Weli, MPH, from Isuroon. This operating group is responsible for increasing the knowledge and access to cervical and breast cancer screening in the Somali and Latino immigrant communities in Minnesota.

The research aims for the Community Engagement Core are:

  • Aim 1. Engage immigrant (Somali and Latino) communities in Minnesota in the cultural adaptation of an evidence-based program, Friend-to-Friend, for increasing breast and cervical cancer screening.
  • Aim 2. Increase knowledge about, access to, and utilization of breast and cervical cancer screening in Minnesota’s Somali and Latino immigrant communities through the following outreach activities:
    • Aim 2a. Implementation of a culturally-adapted Friend-to-Friend program (designed to increase knowledge about and willingness to utilize breast and cervical cancer screening).
    • Aim 2b. Use of existing community resources to increase access to screening and follow up services.
  • Aim 3. Create a sustainable program to ensure the continued use of the Friend-to-Friend program beyond the grant period by Somali and Latino communities involved in the CNP Center.

So far to date, the group has been successful in culturally adapting the Friend-to-Friend program. This was accomplished through a series of key informant interviews and focus groups and a creation of a moderator’s guide. Pilot testing of the culturally adapted Friend-to-Friend program began in the summer of 2012. After the pilot testing, it was concluded that the intervention was worth pursuing and showed promise in increasing breast cancer screening in two immigrant populations experience health disparities. With the success of the pilot testing of the Friend-to-Friend intervention, the partners are continuing to implement the program in the Twin Cities and Owatonna. The intervention will also be implemented in Willmar, St. Cloud, and Austin.

Over the next few years, the goal of the Community Engagement Core is to replicate the intervention and continue to improve the intervention in order to best reach women with the highest need with a meaningful program that resonates with them.

For more information about the Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations (MC3), please visit

Community Partners