Significant cancer health disparities exist in the United States and Puerto Rico. While numerous initiatives have been implemented to reduce cancer disparities, regional coordination of these efforts between institutions is often limited. To address cancer health disparities nation-wide, a series of regional transdisciplinary networks through the Geographic Management Program (GMaP) and the Minority Biospecimen/Biobanking Geographic Management Program (BMaP) were established in six regions across the country. This paper describes the development of the Region 3 GMaP/BMaP network composed of over 100 investigators from nine institutions in five Southeastern states and Puerto Rico to develop a state-of-the-art network for cancer health disparities research and training. We describe a series of partnership activities that led to the formation of the infrastructure for this network, recount the participatory processes utilized to develop and implement a needs and assets assessment and implementation plan, and describe our approach to data collection. Completion, by all nine institutions, of the needs and assets assessment resulted in several beneficial outcomes for Region 3 GMaP/BMaP. This network entails ongoing commitment from the institutions and institutional leaders, continuous participatory and engagement activities, and effective coordination and communication centered on team science goals.
Keywords: Biobank; Biospecimen; Cancer health disparities; Evaluation; Implementation plan; Multi-institutional; Needs assessment; Team science.
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