Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Involving people in defining and solving their own problems is at the heart of behavior change. I believe true partnership is the key to successful community research.
Throughout the United States and globally, different populations contract cancer at different rates and have different survival rates from this disease. Dr. Thompson's research is designed is to understand why these disparities exist, help determine the precursors to cancer, and build the capacity of community-based researchers to investigate, educate, and treat local populations in order to improve early detection and survival rates. Much of Dr. Thompson's previous and current work focuses on the Latino population, with a specific emphasis on cancer prevention and cancer screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers.
Dr. Thompson has written many papers and chapters on community organization as a strategy for developing community partnerships. She is involved in a number of studies in which communities are randomized to intervention or comparison conditions for various health promotion projects, including diabetes, dietary change, cancer screening, and environmental strategies to encourage behavior change.
Dr. Thompson's focus on health disparities research is exemplified by a number of projects, including "Hispanic Community Network to Reduce Cancer Disparities" and "Partnership for a Hispanic Diabetes Prevention Program." Both of these projects take place in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. The projects work with local Community Advisory Boards to guide and lead the activities to reduce health disparities of cancer and diabetes.