Research Integration

The Research Integration Team catalyzes bidirectional engagement in research that responds to community-driven needs. To accomplish this, the team collaborates with partners to assess community needs and opportunities, relays needs and priorities back to Markey Cancer Center researchers and community partners, disseminates data to inform research and cancer control activities, connects researchers and community partners and shares Markey research findings with community audiences. 

Consultation is available to Markey principal investigators and leadership for input on potential community research collaborators, engagement strategies for reaching specific populations, incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into research and outreach, culturally-appropriate health education materials, and guidance on using existing Kentucky Cancer Needs Assessment data resources.

To request a consultation with please complete the Consultation Form.

Community Outreach and Engagement established two new funding opportunities in 2022. High priority is placed on projects that involve racial/ethnic minority populations or basic science. The next round of applications will open in early 2023. 

COE Pilot Grant ($50,000 for 12 months) funds research that responds to the needs and priorities identified in the most recent Kentucky Cancer Needs Assessment and/or interactions with community partners. Download the RFA.

COE Partnership Planning Grant (up to $10,000 for 12 months) provides seed money to develop or strengthen partnerships that lead to developing subsequent research grants, which either respond to a need from the Kentucky Cancer Needs Assessment or propose a joint planning effort with partners to identify community-driven needs. Community partners may be community organizations, research advocates or MCCAN hospitals. Download the RFA.

2021 Kentucky Cancer Needs Assessment: Get the latest data on cancer rates, cancer risk factors, social determinants of health, and cancer health disparities in Kentucky, as well as community input on prioritizing Kentucky’s many cancer needs.

Learn more.

Cancer InFocus is a new online mapping application developed by the Research Integration team to complement the Kentucky Cancer Needs Assessment. This interactive application combines a wealth of available cancer rate, demographic, risk factor, and social determinants of health data with geospatial imaging software to give users control over creating customized maps related to Kentucky's cancer burden. 

The software necessary to build Cancer InFocus for other geographic regions is being made available to any interested cancer center through a no-cost licensing agreement with the University of Kentucky. Initial access can be requested by filing out this form.

Markey’s Community Advisory Board (CAB), advises the Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers on overall center activities and ensures that Markey serves the needs of each community throughout the state. 

Learn more.

Community Impact Ambassadors are comprised of two members from each of Markey's Research Programs. These liaisons meet monthly with Dr. Hull and the Research Integration staff to relay information and updates, needs, and interests and to provide input on strategies to engage with investigators. In turn, the ambassadors learn about community engagement and relay COE updates back to their respective programs.

Learn more.

Research Integration Team

caree mcafeeCaree McAfee, MA, CHES
Team Leader, Administrative Director of Operations and Evaluation

In addition to supervising the Research Integration Team, Caree provides operational leadership for COE, assists COE leadership with strategic planning, and oversees evaluation of COE programs. Caree focuses on helping all the COE teams to identify and measure evaluation metrics that demonstrate the positive impact of Markey outreach and research efforts in Kentucky. She assists COE leadership with coordinating efforts across the four COE teams, and she leads coordination of MCC’s Community Advisory Board. Caree has more than 25 years of experience in leading community-based research initiatives, project management, strategic planning and evaluation, community health education, and grant writing, including working in local public health departments in both rural and urban settings.

stroebelChristine Stroebel, MPH
Quality Improvement Research Director

Christine provides consultations and facilitates development of new research collaborations with the Markey Research Network and quality improvement collaborations with the Markey Affiliate Network. Christine assesses needs and priorities among Network hospitals partners, serves as a liaison between the Networks and researchers, coordinates planning of collaborative quality improvement (QI) research, provides QI training, and contributes to projects as a QI coach. Christine has 30 years of experience in QI working with researchers, healthcare providers, public health departments, and international and domestic nonprofits.

todd burusTodd Burus, MAS
Data Visualization Specialist

Todd provides data support for the COE team and strategic partners to facilitate assessments of the cancer burden in Kentucky and inform action items in addressing those needs. Todd collates data from existing sources, prepares visualizations from the synthesized datasets, and creates deliverables for use by stakeholders. He also consults with organizations about data communication efforts, areas of missing data, and future data needs. Todd comes to the CIO team with 15 years of experience communicating concepts in the classroom, along with a decade of experience working with non-profits in areas of public health and community organization.

Natalie WilhiteNatalie Wilhite, MA
Health Communications Manager

Natalie focuses on developing, disseminating, and evaluating evidence-based health communication campaigns and materials aimed to promote behavior change and raise awareness about cancer research in the community. Skilled in strategic communication, health communication, and community outreach, Natalie is experienced in collaborating with a variety of community sectors, and has a passion for individual, and community wellbeing.

jane morganJane Morgan
Administrative Support Associate

Jane joined Markey Cancer Center after 35 years in restaurant operations and provides administrative support and assistance for COE. Jane has a BA in Communications and enjoys working with such important and needed programs at Markey. 
NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 57 in the nation.