Lessons Learned from a Community-Based Participatory Research Project to Improve American Indian Cancer Surveillance

Background: American Indian and Alaska Native cancer incidence data are limited by underreporting and misclassification. These populations also suffer from a history of research abuse.

Objectives: The project’s goal was to use community-based participatory research (CBPR) to assess the local burden of cancer in the American Indian communities in Wisconsin and assess the accuracy of Wisconsin American Indian cancer data.

Methods: Thirteen organizations partnered to conduct a retrospective review of American Indian clinics cancer cases. A match of the clinic identified cases with Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System records was then conducted.

Lessons Learned: Relationship building, mutual education, and local engagement in data interpretation were significant factors in this project achieving its objectives and laying a foundation for future research partnerships.

Conclusions: This project demonstrates the successful application of CBPR in a complex multisite project with multiple partners using collective resources to address cancer health disparities.