A message from our Board Chair:

I am writing today to announce changes that lie ahead for the NH Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration. Since the beginning of 2018, the NH CCC Board has been conducting a process to define the NH CCC's future in response to changes that are occurring in the cancer control and prevention environment in New Hampshire due to the realignment of state funding.  

The Road Traveled

For the past 15 years, the NH CCC has been a pivotal player in the movement to eliminate cancer, the leading cause of death in NH. The work of the NH CCC is carried out by organizations and individuals, nearly all of them volunteers, who selflessly dedicate their time and expertise to the cause. These champions have partnered to develop and implement three statewide NH Cancer Plans of which the current 2015-2020 Plan is the latest. Hundreds of volunteers have joined committees, working groups, taskforces, and implementation project teams to advance activities aimed at reducing the incidence of, suffering from, and mortality due to cancer in our state. 

These collaborative efforts have produced numerous milestone accomplishments over the years. A sampling of outcomes in which NH CCC partners have played a role include: 

  • Partnered with 6 NH high schools and the Melanoma Foundation of NE to present Teens on Tanning Forum to 60 attendees (2010) 

  • Conducted three surveys of hospitals, cancer centers and long-term care facilities to identify how patients in NH access information about palliative care (2010-2017) 

  • Conducted educational sessions to over 180 health care administrators and clinicians to share a toolkit designed to promote earlier access to palliative care (2011) 

  • Partnered with the Office of Minority Health & Refugee Affairs to secure grant funds to assist in the development of screening educational materials in 7 languages (2013) 

  • Partnered with the NH Colorectal Cancer Screening Program to achieve a 10% increase in screening rates for colorectal cancer (2013) 

  • Developed an infographic poster for use in food service settings to increase Breast & Cervical Cancer screening (2016) 

  • Published Examining Preventive Cancer Screening Rates among Adults in NH white paper describing an innovative approach to identify disparate populations (2016) 

  • Developed Shared Decision Making for Cancer Screening rack card and facilitated shared decision-making workshops for 48 health care professionals (2016) 

  • Promoted evidence based non-pharmacological approaches to pain management practices and distributed related rack card to NH Cancer Centers (2016) 

  • Supported efforts to create tobacco-free policies for recreation areas in 9 Monadnock Region communities (2017) 

  • Identified opportunities to partner with business owners and managers to assess foodservice owners' and managers' readiness to address smoking among their workforces (2017) 

  • Supported the Live HPV Cancer Free working group, established in 2016, to improve HPV vaccination rates in NH 

  • Published 27 Emerging Issue Briefs on such issues as Breast Feeding and Cancer Prevention, Arsenic in Food and Water, Cognitive Biases in Decision Making, and Excess Weight Gain During Youth and the Future Risk of Cancer (2008-2018) 

In the policy arena, members of the NH CCC Public Policy Education Committee and NH CCC partners at large have had a steady presence at the Statehouse providing testimony on important cancer-related legislation. NH CCC partners achieved a landmark success in 2016, working together to pass a law restricting teens under age 18 from using indoor tanning facilities. The GW Cancer Center featured this effort in a success story published in 2017. 

In 2018 the NH CCC held its 13th consecutive Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting is NH CCC's signature event and brings together cancer professionals, survivors and other cancer control and prevention stakeholders to learn, network, and share knowledge and resources to address cancer statewide. Annual Meeting attendees have been treated to many esteemed speakers over the years. At the 2014 meeting for example, Anna Thomas, Manchester Deputy Public Health Director, captivated the audience presenting as both a public health professional and cancer survivor. 

Because it has demonstrated remarkable success as a collaboration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized the NH CCC as a model for other state Comprehensive Cancer Collaborations.

The Road Ahead

NH CCC Board of DirectorsThe NH CCC is a component of the NH Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) Cancer Program, which is funded by the CDC. The DPHS has been the primary funder for the NH CCC. Effective July 1, 2018, DPHS reallocated NH CCC funding to support implementation of strategies in its Cancer Control Program workplan for CDC. The elimination of funding will result in the loss of core administrative support for NH CCC, which has been provided by the Foundation for Healthy Communities since 2006.   

In response to this change, the NH CCC Board initiated a sustainability planning process earlier this year to determine NH CCC's future mission and structure. The Board identified priority objectives for the NH CCC, as well as possible future roles, success measures and alternative funding sources. Priority objectives include:

  1. Decrease the percentage of NH adults who report currently smoking cigarettes.

  2. Increase the percentage of health care centers that report having a system in place to assist smokers with tobacco treatment. Focus on increasing NH Quitline referrals.

  3. Increase the percentage of NH youth who complete the recommended HPV vaccination series.

  4. Increase the percentage of people who receive colorectal screening, with an emphasis on disparate populations.

  5. Increase availability and access to systems that provide relevant, evidence-based and / or recommended survivorship programs and services designed to improve quality of life. 

The Board considered restructuring itself as an all-volunteer "Working Board" with designated roles and time limited terms as a way to adapt to the loss of the Foundation for Healthy Communities as fiscal sponsor. In the end, the Board concluded that, while the NH CCC has made enormous accomplishments over the years, it cannot be sustained in its current form. A change in approach will be required to maintain collaboration among NH CCC partners. Opportunities for continued collaboration may include partnering on implementation projects supported by DPHS funding. The DPHS will soon release a Request for Applications. We will notify our NH CCC partners when the funding opportunity is released. Another possibility is for NH CCC partners to convene as issues of common interest arise. 

The NH CCC recently released its own Funding Opportunity Announcement to support projects that advance the previously mentioned NH Cancer Plan priority objectives. 

NH CCC was initiated by cancer control and prevention stakeholders who understood that progress on eliminating cancer in our state would best be achieved through working together. The same approach will be required to achieve continued success. We look forward to finding ways to maintain connections between NH CCC partners and to keeping the work going.

Sincerely, 

Robert Gerlach 
NH CCC Board Chair