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Cancer education for Community Health Aides promotes community wellness

September 9, 2016

Beginning in 2015, with a funding award from the National Cancer Institute, the Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) cancer education team launched a series of interactive, online cancer education modules (CHAP Distance Learning Network releases new cancer education modules) to address a need for accessible cancer education in rural Alaska. The education program has continued to develop and rollout engaging learning modules as they are completed. The ninth module, “Tobacco and Cancer,” was recently released; the final module “Eating Well, Being Active, Decreasing Cancer Risk” will be released this fall.

These online modules, which offer Community Health Aides and Practitioners (CHA/Ps) continuing education hours, are an important part of engaging CHA/Ps in cancer control and preventative care. Cancer is the leading causes of death for our people and the modules were developed with Alaska Native culture in mind to best serve CHA/Ps and their communities.

Each module was developed with feedback from Alaska’s CHA/Ps, CHAP leadership, community members, project partners and content experts. CHAP learners wanted to see relevant local information, personal stories, visual teaching aids and content that shows respect for individual learners’ cultures. These are all included in the modules and each module concludes with an evaluation survey and opportunity for feedback to ensure the modules continue to reflect the needs of the CHAP learners themselves.

One survey respondent commented about the cancer education online learning module, “It brought to light some issues for cancer patients that I otherwise would have had no idea about. It didn’t just brush on a subject and leave you wanting more answers, any question I had was quickly answered in the module. The information was concise and put together in a way that was very fluid and made sense to be in that order.”

From March 2015 – July 2016, 338 end-of-module surveys were completed and the monthly total continues to increase month after month as more people complete the modules. All modules are available free of charge online at the CHAP Distance Learning Network website.

Additionally, this fall, the cancer education team is launching a course with University of Alaska Fairbanks, “Cancer: Risks, Diagnosis and Treatment Cancer Education with Storytelling.” Registrations are due September 12 for this online learning course approved for 3 credits with UAF.

To learn more please contact Laura Revels at or Melany Cueva at

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