Cancer prevention advances our mission
Cancer prevention is a cornerstone of MD Anderson’s mission to eliminate cancer. Research estimates that up to half of cancer cases in the United States could be prevented at a population level. MD Anderson supports community-led efforts that can directly impact cancer risk reduction.
Be Well Communities™ is MD Anderson's place-based strategy for cancer prevention and control, working with communities to promote wellness and stop cancer before it starts. We unite individuals, schools, workplaces, government agencies, health care providers and policymakers to plan and carry out sustainable, community-led solutions that will make positive, long-lasting changes in people’s lives.
We work collaboratively with residents and community-based organizations to implement evidence-based strategies that can reduce the risk of cancer with a focus on five key areas:
Be Well Communities is built on 100 years of healthy community initiative best practices, literature, and experience. The model centers on working with community-based organizations to build their capacity to deliver and evaluate evidence-based interventions. We create strong community linkages, advance professional and policy changes, establish an active health coalition, and create a sustainability plan to transition the initiative to the community.
Read the initial publication of this work in Cancer Causes and Control for more information.
With the goal of supporting all communities, we developed a resource that serves as a primer to support organizations, especially those who do not focus primarily on health, with selecting evidence-based cancer prevention and chronic disease interventions that can be implemented at the community level.
Review this resource, Be Well Communities: Empowering organizations to select evidence-based interventions for cancer control for more information.
Together with strong community partners, this work is already making tangible differences in communities across the Greater Houston Area.
More than 50 local, regional and state organizations are actively engaged on Be Well Communities steering committees, guiding the implementation of each action plan in partnership with residents in each community.
Since 2017, key milestones included:
- Built capacity of community partners to increase access to healthy eating:
- Over four million pounds of healthy food have been distributed to families
- Over one million pounds of healthy food distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic addressing a critical community need
- Invested in the built environment and integrated active living into communities:
- 27 sunshades have been installed at city parks, schools and college campuses
- 70,000+ students have participated in school-based health and physical activity programs
- Prioritized actions to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases:
- 8,500+ college students, staff and faculty have access to tobacco-free education and resources
- Eight free vaccination clinics have been hosted to provide all recommended shots to adolescents, including the HPV vaccine
Be Well™ Acres Homes
Be Well Acres Homes is an initiative of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in collaboration with Harris Health System, Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation, UTHealth, and more than 30 community organizations united together with residents of Acres Homes. This initiative began in 2020 and was made possible through philanthropic investments from MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Learn more about Be Well Acres Homes.
Be Well™ Baytown
In 2016, MD Anderson united with the community of Baytown, Texas, to launch the first, most comprehensive, community-driven health initiative of its kind in the state of Texas. This initiative was made possible through a philanthropic investment from ExxonMobil to MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program® to benefit a Houston-area community.
Learn more about Be Well Baytown and current efforts.
Pasadena Vibrant Community
In 2016, MD Anderson united with the community of Pasadena, Texas, to mobilize health and wellness in the community. This initiative was made possible by investment from and collaboration with Shell Oil Company. As of 2021, this initiative has transitioned to the sustainability phase, and 90% of all interventions have been completed or integrated into the collaborating organizations’ strategic plan for ongoing implementation.
Be Well Communities is helping to build stronger, more connected communities and we’re so happy to be part of this excellent, long-term initiative. By working as a collaborative group, each organization can bring its resources and expertise to accomplish much more than any one organization can do on its own.
Houston Food Bank