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Knight Cancer Institute awards grant to Adventist Health Portland Foundation


OHSU Knight Cancer Institute recently announced the latest recipients of grants from its Community Partnership Program. Adventist Health Portland Foundation received one such grant in support of its plan to assess the cancer needs of the local Slavic community and explore solutions to meet those needs.

“The Slavic community has been one of the most underserved minority groups in Portland, especially regarding chronic health issues,” explains Zhenya Abbruzzese, Slavic outreach consultant for Adventist Health Portland. “When it comes to cancer, the fear and distrust is so intense, many people forego care early when cancer is most treatable.”

Using the grant from OHSU KCI, Adventist Health Portland is partnering with the Slavic Community Center and local Russian- and Ukrainian-language churches to hold focus groups that explore what drives these groups to avoid cancer screening and care. Through culturally sensitive dialogue presented in Ukrainian and Russian over the next year, the team seeks to understand the community’s needs and discover what screening tools and treatments could best reach this population, which includes more than 100,000 people in the Portland, Oregon, area.

“The state of medical care in the Soviet Union was so poor, many immigrants haven’t engaged with the health system here,” Abbruzzese says. She and her team hope that, with the OHSU KCI grant, they can change that and save lives through early cancer detection and treatment.