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UNC, Community Colleges Team Up Against Cancer

UNC Chapel Hill is partnering with the state's community colleges in an effort to fight cancer. Public health researchers will work with all 58 of the state's community colleges to identify cancer prevention programs that work and implement them in the schools. Laura Linnan is a professor at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health and the project's principal investigator.

Laura Linnan: "Cancer's the leading cause of death now in North Carolina. It's overtaken heart disease. But the good news is that more than 50 percent of cancer deaths are related to things that we can do something about, that we can actually change. So we're going to go about the business of trying to do cancer prevention. You know, you can't prevent all cancers, but there's certainly some things we know we can do."
Scott Ralls is President of the North Carolina Community College System. He says community service is part of the system's core mission and a good reason to get involved in the health of that community.

Scott Ralls: "And also, we play a very big role too in healthcare. That's an important part of our efforts through the community colleges. We train the majority of nurses in North Carolina and so it ties in very closely with our mission, both an educational mission but our community service mission."
And there's also the sheer numbers of people to reach. North Carolina has the 3rd largest community college system in the country with 58 colleges across the state. All 58 community colleges in the state are participating. Linnan says putting effective programs in those colleges will pay dividends.

Linnan: "We know that there's programs that work to help people stop smoking, help people lose weight, help people get more physically active. And so if we can bring those to the table and then figure out the best ways to implement those at the community colleges, we can really get the best out of this partnership opportunity."

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