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Gail McCray is a community health and preventive medicine instructor at the Morehouse School of Medicine. She graduated from the University of Georgia and received her Masters of Arts in Health Promotion and Behaviour. Her research examines the role of Community Health Workers (CHWs) in crucial decision-making for colorectal cancer screening among African American adults. Since at least the year 2000, she has been involved in the advancement of CHWs as essential members of the healthcare team, particularly for underserved populations. In her role as Program Manager in this 10-year partnership (NCI-U54) with University of Alabama/Birmingham and Tuskegee University, CHWs have been central to reducing barriers, increasing health literacy, and connecting medical and social resources in primarily medically underserved African Americans. During this period, she was fortunate to have formed a Georgia Community Health Worker Network (GA_CHWN), comprised of CHW stakeholders for all disease areas, and the Cancer Patient Navigators of Georgia (CPNG), under the aegis of the Georgia Society of Clinical Oncologists. She co-developed a training curriculum in partnership with the southeast region of the American Cancer Society and the Georgia Division of Public Health (2002), and has trained over 400 CHWs/Patient Navigators across the state. She participated in a research project that demonstrated that CHWs could increase compliance among economically disadvantaged women in a city hospital, who had received an abnormal mammogram. She currently supervises three CHWs who deliver a community-based evidence-based education intervention to increase colorectal cancer (in partnership with the County Health Department and senior centers around the County) and an initiative called BRIDGES in collaboration with the southeast region of ACS. On the local, state, and national level, she continues to be active in achieving the formal recognition of CHWs as part of the healthcare workforce and the integration into the healthcare team to increase quality of care, decrease costs, and improve the patient outcomes for those who have historically been marginalized in healthcare. This project will contribute to the much-needed objective literature on the effectiveness of CHWs.
Just in time for Cancer Research Month, Georgia CORE has awarded a Collaborative Cancer Research Seed Grant for $100,000 from the Georgia Cancer Research Fund.
Lynn Durham shares her cancer journey on the podcast, Kickin' it Forward.
Advancing Cancer Care through Partnerships and Innovation
Georgia CORE is a statewide nonprofit that leverages partnerships and innovation to attract more clinical trials, increase research, and promote education and early detection to improve cancer care for Georgians in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the state.