Cancer Communication Research Center

Understanding Jargon


Unfortunately, we're not all doctors. As a result, it's unlikely that most people will understand medical jargon when visiting the doctor. It's also unlikely that a person will ask a doctor questions about terminology, especially when the diagnosis is not good.

A recent article points out the change in the U.S. health care system from a provider focus to a patient focus, and that a middle ground needs to be established, meaning physicians need to speak to patients in a way they can understand while also encouraging patients to ask questions. Additionally, the article discusses how physicians need to factor in a patient's emotions and recognize them as part of the dialogue.

The history of cancer treatment has changed over time in very drastic ways (to get the full depth of this, read The Emperor of All Maladies). And as health care continues to move to a patient-centered focus, the communication between provider and patient should change, too. Or alternatively, we should all become doctors.

Michelle Henton
Senior Research Assistant, CCRC

Written by CCRC at 14:46

Have you heard of MIYO?

Make It Your Own, or MIYO for short, is a web-based system that allows community partners to  provide tailored health information to their target audience. The tool has been used by state and local public health and cancer control organizations for a variety of health issues, but is currently being used to enhance colorectal screenings by the Colorectal Cancer Control Program funded by the CDC.

In March 2013, the NCI's Research to Reality held a webinar on MIYO, presented by Dr. Matthew Kreuter from Washington University in St. Louis. You can see the webinar here, and also get more information about MIYO here.

Michelle Henton
Senior Research Assistant, CCRC

Written by CCRC at 13:25

The End of the CECCR: A Personal Reflection from a Senior Research Assistant


High hopes, Welcome to the HMO, and What is D&I Exactly?
When I first moved to Denver almost three years ago, I had a lot of hopes for my career. I didn't have a job yet, but I was determined to find something in the research field. Every day was filled with job applications and finger crossing that I would hear something, anything, from anyone. However, I had my sights set on working for Kaiser Permanente, a company that I had done extensive research on throughout my job searching. Then, one day, the call came for an interview. I knew right away when meeting with the group I would eventually be working for that it was going to be a good fit. Aside from being extremely nervous, I was excited about what everyone was telling me they work on and how I would contribute. This is exactly what I was looking for, and I was thrilled.
Two weeks after that interview in March 2011, I began as a Senior Research Assistant under the CECCR II grant. For my second day on the job, I was in Boston for the 17th Annual HMO Research Network conference. It was at this meeting that I met many colleagues that I would be working with, not just in my own office, but also those we collaborate with across the country in other HMOs. It was also at this meeting I got a better idea of what projects are being done within the CECCR and who was involved with what. I was mixing and mingling; listening and learning; overwhelmed and exhausted; but more importantly, completely enthralled.
Full disclosure: I had no idea what dissemination and implementation (D&I) work was when I started. Fortunately, Jim Dearing was kind enough to give me a copy of Everett Rogers' book Diffusion of Innovations to help clarify. Naturally through the work I was doing, I was quick to learn just what D&I involved, how it can be applied, and how exactly it was being done within the research projects of the CECCR (both internally and externally).
CECCR meetings and a series of firsts
The first CECCR meeting I attended was in St. Louis, hosted by Washington University. Being from Missouri, it was good to be back in my home state and eat at Pi, which happened to be across the street from our hotel. The first here (aside from meeting more people within the CECCR) was taking part in my first poster presentation. I made a poster displaying the restructuring of the CRN-CCRC, which was a test of my creativity and PowerPoint skills. Washington University is a beautiful campus and put on an amazing meeting (we will never forget that Ignite presentation…). The following year, the CECCR meeting was held in Wisconsin, a state I had never been to before (first). This was such a fun meeting: the campus was beautiful, the speeches the first night highlighted just why we do what we do, and the cheese curds. Oh, the cheese curds. This brings us to this year: the final CECCR meeting. I'm excited and sad for this meeting. While it's my first time in Michigan and I'm excited to check out Ann Arbor, I'm sad that we will no longer be getting together in this format. I will be presenting a poster on the Cancer Prognostic Resources website, which is going live soon, and I'm looking forward to showing everyone what Borsika Rabin and the rest of the team have been working on for the past few years, in addition to all the other CECCRs. It will definitely be a great meeting.

People, Places, Projects, Potential
Looking back on the past (almost) three years, it's amazing how many people I have met, all the places I have been, and all the things I have learned as a result of the CECCR. Case in point, this website wouldn't exist if I didn't learn HTML! But I digress... I have heard some amazing speeches, been inspired by great projects being worked on by other CECCRs, and have worked on some challenging and exciting projects myself. Being a part of the CECCR has been a tremendous opportunity for me, and while it will be strange to no longer be involved with it, I'm excited to take what I have learned and apply it to future projects.

Michelle Henton
Senior Research Assistant, CCRC

Written by CCRC at 11:35

Cancer Research Network scientific working group


The fourth round of funding of the HMORN's Cancer Research Network brings a new emphasis on supporting others who have research proposal ideas that can take advantage of the CRN healthcare organization infrastructure. One of the scientific working groups deals directly with communication and dissemination research. If you or someone you know would like to learn about the CRN or get involved in discussions about communication or dissemination research ideas, consider joining this group's monthly calls.

The website for this group is I co-chair this group with Brian Mittman of the VA, and Kathy Mazor of Meyers Primary Care Research Institute. Our next call is June 27, Thursday, 4-5pm Eastern time, call-in number 888-858-2133, access code 6853873. The topic of the June 27th discussion is insights into scientific peer review at NIH. 

Hope to talk with you on the call!

Jim Dearing
Director/PI, CCRC


Written by CCRC at 15:42

The elements for great care


If you have not yet read the reflection by David Gustafson in the "A Piece of Mind" section of JAMA from January 16 this year, please do yourself a favor and look this piece up!

Dave Gustafson - an accomplished systems enginner for healthcare delivery processes (including the father of the greatly succesful CHESS program) and the director of one of our sister CECCRs (the one at the University of Wisconsin) shares his experience as a patient (A Systems Engineer meets the system).

Let me share one thought from Dave on how to achieve greatness in care delivery:

"How do you get people to work with this kind of dedication?

One answer, I've learned, is to hire on attitude. Look for people with the energy that suggests the capacity for this kind of commitment. Another answer: Don't tolerate mediocrity. The burden caused by medicore people falls on conscientious people. If the burden becomes too great, the conscientious people leave. You're left with mediocrity. Finally, lead by example. This starts with the chief executive officer personally experiencing what it's like to be a patient in your organization. This means doing a "walk-through." A walk-through gives the leader who does it first-hand experience of what is and what isn't working. It produces a list of things to fix and a greater urgency to fix them."


Borsika Rabin
Staff Researcher/Research Coordinator

Written by CCRC at 10:38


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