Mission Statement of the Arkansas Cancer Coalition:
” To facilitate and provide partnerships to reduce the human suffering and economic burden from cancer for the citizens of Arkansas.”
In 1992, Arkansas’ breast cancer control program began, and one year later, the Arkansas Cancer Control Coalition formed to support and monitor the state’s breast cancer control plan. This coalition joined forces with the Arkansas Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program to initiate a five-year agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide services for early detection of breast and cervical cancer. Through partnerships with YWCA EncorePlus, the American Cancer Society, The Witness Project and the Arkansas affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Arkansans were given access to early detection in 1995.
The coalition led the way for the passage of The Breast Cancer Act of 1997. This act appropriated $4 million in state general revenue with backup funding from a tobacco tax to provide breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and research. The state funding complemented CDC funds to ensure a timely diagnosis and treatment for eligible Arkansas women.
In 1998, Arkansas was selected to participate in a case study of cancer prevention and control conducted by Battelle Centers for Health Research and Evaluation, a contractor of CDC. Arkansas was selected based on previous attempts at comprehensive cancer planning, the degree of centralization of public health functions, presence of a cancer registry and resources available to support cancer planning activities. Later that year, Arkansas submitted a Comprehensive Cancer Control grant application and was designated a CDC planning state but did not receive funding. Following the release of the Battelle report in September 1998, ADH formed an internal taskforce for comprehensive cancer planning and began participating in monthly planning activities.
The first comprehensive cancer conference, the Arkansas Cancer Summit, took place in September 2000 and later that year the framework for a statewide comprehensive cancer control plan began to emerge. By the end of 2000, the Arkansas Cancer Control Coalition and ADH’s comprehensive cancer planning taskforce merged to form the Arkansas Cancer Coalition. In November 2001, the Arkansas Cancer Plan: A Framework for Action was published and led the way for implementation funding from CDC.
Over the next decade the Arkansas Cancer Coalition grew to serve almost 1,000 members, more than doubled in dedicated staff and increased sustainability through acquisition of multiple grant awards.
The more members and interconnections our network has, the more valuable membership in the network becomes. As the coalition continues to grow, more expertise, insight, perspectives, opportunities and resources are gained. In turn, these assets are promptly shared throughout the coalition, making possible the collaboration on ideas that will lead to Arkansas’ next big breakthrough on cancer control. It is an integral part of the mission of ACC to increase coalition communication and participation. Members stay plugged in through our website, newsletters, social media portals, committees and workgroups. Members are also encouraged to contribute content to share with the rest of the coalition. Visit www.arcancercoalition.org; follow us on Twitter (@AR_ACC), or “like” us on Facebook to learn more.