Office of Health Equity (OHE)


The Duke Cancer Center, formally relaunched in 2011 as the Duke Cancer Institute, has a long-standing commitment to Community Outreach and Engagement (COE), particularly around health education and screening for early detection. In 2012, DCI launched its Office of Health Equity (OHE) and in 2018 expanded its commitment to COE with a joint program between DCI and the Duke Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (DCTSI) called Alliances for Community Engagement and Stakeholder Strategy (ACESS).

The Office of Health Equity and ACESS are closely integrated. OHE remains as DCI’s primary focal point for community outreach, particularly around DCI’s hosting, coordinating, and participation in community health events and its commitment to community-facing navigation. ACESS is focused on nurturing and continuing to expand DCI’s extensive network of community stakeholder partnerships with governmental, advocacy organization, and academic institutions, who share our vision for ending cancer health disparities and achieving cancer health equity. A particular area of integration between OHE and ACESS is improving minority participation in cancer clinical trials.

Office of Health Equity (OHE)

Our Team: Kearston Ingraham, MPH; Xiomara Boyce, MS; Tara Ilsley, MPH; Faiza Mustafa, MPH; and Valarie Worthy, MSNOur Team: Kearston Ingraham, MPH; Xiomara Boyce, MS; Tara Ilsley, MPH; Faiza Mustafa, MPH; and Valarie Worthy, MSNThe Office of Health Equity’s mission is to eliminate cancer disparities and promote health equity within the Duke Cancer Institute’s catchment area.

In 2017, OHE received the Association of Community Cancer Centers’ prestigious “Innovator Award” in recognition of their successful community engagement and outreach endeavors over the years to increase the community’s awareness, knowledge, understanding, as well as the importance of engagement in clinical trials and research from a health equity perspective. In an effort to eliminate cancer disparities and promote health equity within the Duke Cancer Institute’s catchment area, OHE has developed strategic goals in the following core areas:

Community Outreach & Engagement
  • Community-facing Navigation
    • Engaging with community and faith-based organizations to increase awareness of cancer risk factors, clinical trials, and resources that will eliminate barriers to healthcare in the community with the goal of decreasing cancer incidence and mortality.
    • Our Community-facing Navigation program is an essential link to all of our community outreach and engagement activities. Patient Navigators:
      • Provide health education at various events in the community
      • Identify individuals seeking/needing cancer screenings AND
      • Provide one-on-one assistance in accessing cancer screenings at DCI and its affiliates.
    • If diagnostic resolution of a suspicious finding is required, or a diagnosis of cancer is made, the Community-facing Navigators will refer patients to Patient Navigators, social workers, financial counselors, medical family therapists, and other professionals that will assist the patient in getting the best care possible at the Duke Cancer Center.
Health Disparities Education
  • Health Disparities Education Training and Research
    • Increase training and education in health disparities, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and through partnered pipeline training programs.
Clinical Trials Education & Workplace Diversity
  • Diversity in Research, Clinical Trials, and the Workplace
    • Raising awareness, knowledge, and understanding of clinical trials and research with an emphasis on the importance of participation among diverse populations from a health equity perspective.
    • Bidirectional communication as a foundational cornerstone to ensure community perspectives and expertise informs research and community programming through partnerships and collaborations.

Synchronous Collaborations

Each year the Office of Health Equity partners with other entities, both within the Duke enterprise and across Durham County, to organize lifesaving screenings and vital educational programs. The Men's Health Initiative and Women's Health Awareness symposium are among the Office of Health Equity's signature events.

To learn more information on screenings and educational programs, please contact the Office of Health Equity at 919.684.0409. To learn more about our Community Advisory Council, a dynamic group of individuals representing diverse perspectives of the community, click here.