Office of Community Outreach and Engagement
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center



The Office of Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center mission is to reduce the cancer burden in our catchment area of Los Angeles County through research, education and outreach. To accomplish our mission, we: define and assess cancer relevant needs of the diverse populations in our catchment area; engage our catchment community in research, education, outreach to address cancer related disparities; conduct in-reach and outreach to enhance the enrollment of under-represented communities in clinical trials; and elevate the impact of our Cancer Center’s research through policy and advocacy in our catchment area. We also extend our reach within and beyond our catchment area by working closely with government and community partners.

Our cancer priorities focus on major cancer burdens and disparities in our catchment area (breast, prostate, lung, colorectal, liver, acute lymphoblastic leukemia), and behavioral factors that alter risk for cancer (HPV vaccination, cervical cancer screening, diet, physical activity, tobacco, environmental pollutants). With significant input from our Community Advisory Board, COE serves as a bridge between our community and USC Norris scientists and drives catchment relevant research across the continuum from cancer prevention to development of novel diagnostics and therapies, to cancer survivorship. COE also informs transdisciplinary and transformative scientific initiatives guided by the USC Norris Strategic Plan. Key examples include the RESPOND study of prostate cancer outcomes in African Americans (NCI U19) and the CaRE2 program to understand and reduce disparities in pancreatic and prostate cancer in African Americans and Latinos through translational research and education (NCI U54).

Signature outreach programs include: outdoor media campaigns (Es Tiempo): clinic-based interventions and educational videos (Tamale Lesson); involvement of promotores de salud and community health workers in our communities; and programs that support our patients and their families through culturally sensitive and language specific patient navigation. We also reduce the financial burdens for low income families to participate in clinical trials via the Lazarex Cancer Research Foundation’s IMPACT Program (NeighborGood). We also collaborate with the USC Norris Cancer Research and Career Enhancement Program to support education and career development of underserved minority trainees, scientists and practitioners in our community.

Programs of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement:


Contact person: Carolina Aristizabal, MD, MPH, Project Manager, Caristiz@usc.edu, tel. 323-442-1315
Associate Director: Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD, MPH, baezcond@usc.edu
Lead Patient Navigator: Ghecemy Lopez, Ghecemy.lopez@med.usc.edu
Administration: Rosa Barahona, barahona@usc.edu