University of Nebraska Medical Center

Our Mission

We are working to reduce overall cancer burden and eliminate cancer-related health disparities in Nebraska through collaboration with community organizations.

Cancer Burden Surveillance

Improve understanding of cancer burden and needs of Nebraskans, especially underrepresented populations.

Engage Nebraskans

Engage with community, health care and public health partners to promote evidence-based interventions and policies to prevent and control cancers in Nebraska.

Promote Research & Clinical Trials

Promote cancer clinical trials and community-engaged research that addresses cancer issues affecting Nebraskans.


To effectively support community-engaged research, it is essential to provide the working definitions that underlie and provide scope to our work. There are several different ways to define concepts like “community” or “community engagement,” and how these concepts are explained can significantly affect the actions and relationships of those involved in research.

Below are the definitions that the Community Engagement and Outreach Core used to describe community, community engagement, and community-engaged research. Using these definitions enables us to have a shared understanding which, we believe, will then lead to better relationships and more impactful research.


Persons or entities affiliated by geographic proximity, special interests, or similar situations which can be further defined using the following perspectives:

  • Systems (such as specialized functions, activities or interests operating in specific boundaries to meet community needs)
  • Individual (such as how a person thinks about himself or herself and how others see and think about that person)
  • Social (such as individual, community organizations and leaders)
  • Virtual (such as communicating via online mechanisms)

Community Engagement

The Collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger community for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

Community-Engaged Research

The process of working collaboratively with groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interests or similar situations with respect to the investigation and resolution of issues affecting their well-being. It is a powerful vehicle for bringing about environmental and behavioral changes that will improve the health of the community and its members. It often involves partnerships and coalitions that help mobilize resources and influence systems, change relationships among partners and serve as catalysts for changing policies, programs and practices.