Center for Community-Based Research
Dana-Farber's Center for Community-Based Research, directed by Dr. Sorensen, focuses on research in cancer prevention and control. The core of our work is randomized worksite- and community-based studies that test the effectiveness of theory-driven interventions targeting individual and organizational change. This research focuses particularly on redressing disparities in cancer risk by socioeconomic position and race/ethnicity. Interventions are designed for low income, multiethnic populations - including blue-collar and service workers - and are embedded in the social context or environment in which people live. We conducted the first randomized controlled worksite-intervention trials to demonstrate the benefits of an integrated approach to improving health behaviors among blue-collar workers at high risk of both job-related exposures and lifestyle behaviors such as tobacco use and diet. We tested this approach at large and small manufacturing worksites with construction laborers, truck drivers, and other motor freight workers. Recently, we initiated a new study to examine both individual health behaviors and hazardous environmental exposures within low-income housing developments. Another study, Cancer Control in Working Class, Multiethnic Populations, included intervention research in small businesses and health centers, and the development of a cancer prevention model that uses the results of these interventions to estimate the long-term benefits of cancers avoided and costs saved. Study results demonstrated the efficacy of a social context model for promoting changes in health behavior across diverse populations.From 2003 to 2004, Dr. Sorensen conducted studies in Mumbai, India, at the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, through a Fulbright Award. This research with Indian collaborators focused on disparities in tobacco use in India, and examined tobacco-use patterns among school teachers. Currently, Dr. Sorensen leads the Massachusetts Cancer Prevention Community Research Network, a collaboration with Boston University to foster research with community partners.