The catchment area for The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UNMCCC) is the entire state of New Mexico; a large, geographically and culturally diverse landmass featuring high concentrations of Hispanic, American Indian and underserved groups. The striking natural beauty of New Mexico poses a contrast to the persistent structural disparities that impact health status, health care utilization such as screening and general access to care, treatment, and participation in cancer clinical trials. As one of only four minority-majority states in the nation, New Mexico has the highest rate of childhood poverty and 32/33 counties are health professional shortage areas. In response to these challenges, the UNMCCC has directed its resources and expertise to identify strategies along the cancer continuum that maximize opportunities for ameliorating existing disparities.
The mission of the UNMCCC Community Outreach and Engagement Office is to reduce cancer burden in New Mexico through an infrastructure that facilitates the research, clinical care, education, and outreach activities of multiple stakeholders and partners (locally, regionally, nationally and internationally) in alignment with UNMCCC strategic goals. The COE is integrated into all research, clinical and outreach/engagement components of the Cancer Center and is guided by community input on strategic decisions, priorities, and policy initiatives.