Impacting health disparities through community outreach: utilizing the CLEAN look (culture, literacy, education, assessment, and networking)

Cancer Control. 2007 Jan;14(1):70-7. doi: 10.1177/107327480701400110.


Background: Community outreach programs are important vehicles for reducing the discovery-delivery disconnect by bringing cancer education and screening services directly to community members. Such programs are consistent with the priority areas of the Department of Health and Human Services' initiatives for reducing health disparities by 2010, and they support the use of culturally, linguistically, and literacy-specific approaches for eliminating cancer health disparities.

Methods: This article reviews the important tenets of culture and literacy when developing community outreach programs for medically underserved populations, examines a health education empowerment model for community program planning, and describes the use of the CLEAN Look Checklist (in which CLEAN is an easy-to-remember mnemonic of culture, literacy, education, assessment, and networking) for identifying cues and strategies to achieve relevant outreach.

Results: This article illustrates the application of this approach with an example of outreach strategies for reaching at-risk Haitian American women in our community.

Conclusions: Meeting the challenge of a strong health disparities agenda requires integration of cultural and literacy considerations in outreach program, message, and intervention development. The use of a checklist may help clinicians, educators, and researchers create a sustainable model of community outreach guided by a paradigm that incorporates a multilevel approach to address cancer outcomes for disenfranchised populations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Community Health Planning*
  • Community Participation*
  • Culture
  • Disease Management
  • Educational Status
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups / education*
  • Program Evaluation