Background: Addressing cancer health disparities constitutes a national priority in this country, with funding for Pacific Islander efforts initiated 7 years ago by the National Cancer Institute. In 2005, the Weaving an Islander Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training (WINCART) was launched in Southern California by a collaboration of community and university organizations to build upon past efforts to decrease cancer health disparities for Chamorros, Native Hawaiians, Marshallese, Samoans and Tongans.
Methods: To assess community organizational capacity to participate in collaborative cancer control for Pacific Islanders, a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis was undertaken. Two staff members per community organization (CBO) performed the SWOT analyses, with grids analyzed for commonalities and differences between all organizations.
Results: Staff informants provided many examples of what they perceived as organizational strengths and weaknesses with regards to promoting cancer control for their respective Pacific Islander populations. CBO strengths included strong leadership and extensive community experience. Challenges included limited resources, lack of staff skills in some areas, and difficulty in recruiting volunteers. In addition, many external opportunities and threats to cancer control promotion were identified.
Conclusion: Results from the SWOT analyses have been used to identify topics for community organizational trainings and supports within WINCART, with the goals of increasing their participation in the development and implementation of collaborative, community-university driven efforts to decrease cancer disparities for Pacific Islanders in Southern California.