About the Office of Community Outreach & Engagement (OCOE)

Integrating and distributing cancer research across Indiana

The Office of Community Outreach and Engagement (OCOE) seeks to lower the cancer burden in Indiana by providing a bidirectional link between IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers and the community we serve, with a focus on underserved populations.

Our specific aims are:

  • Monitor cancer burden in Indiana
  • Conduct impactful research relevant to Indiana residents
  • Disseminate evidence-based strategies by engaging statewide partners
  • Promote health policy

Our catchment area covers the entire state of Indiana. Our underserved populations include:

  • Rural areas, predominantly low-income white communities
  • Black, American Indian, and Hispanic communities, concentrated in urban areas

Meet Our Team Partnership Interest Form

The cancer mortality rate in Indiana is more than 10% higher than the U.S. average.

Community Advisory Board (CAB)

Informing and advising on community and cancer survivor needs, research development, and dissemination activities within our catchment area.

Health Equity Advisory Board (HEAB)

Advising OCOE efforts that support research development and dissemination to reduce the cancer burden of our underserved populations.  

Research Advisory Board (RAB)

Informing our cancer center colleagues about research priorities in our catchment area and connecting researchers to community resources.

The OCOE’s annual community engagement conference showcases the programs, research, funding opportunities, and other community engagement efforts that comprise the OCOE.

Community partners will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the researchers, students, staff, and community champions that work to tirelessly realize our vision and mission.

Team Science: Deborah Hudson-Buckles

Since 2008, Debi has served as program director for Rethink Tobacco Indiana, focusing on tobacco cessation systems change in mental health and substance abuse treatment centers across Indiana.

She’s provided education and assistance for 93 unique community mental health centers, located in 63 of Indiana’s 92 counties.

In addition, Debi oversees IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Tobacco Treatment Program, which provides comprehensive tobacco treatment to patients with cancer.

During Debi’s more than 20 years in the field of tobacco treatment, she has coordinated and developed training programs for healthcare professionals and residents across Indiana, worked on multiple research efforts, and been a leader in the state.

She holds a bachelor of science degree in respiratory therapy, as well as a National Certificate in Tobacco Treatment Practice. She’s also a trained tobacco treatment specialist (TTS) and Certified-UMass TTS Trainer.

Rethink Tobacco Indiana Simon Says Expert Series

International initiatives

OCOE’s mission to reduce the cancer burden reaches beyond our current state and national borders. Some of our faculty and staff are actively involved in research, education, and training through IU School of Medicine’s long-standing partnerships in Kenya.

Interested in collaborating with the Office of Community Outreach & Engagement on cancer awareness and research advocacy in Indiana? Use our Partnership Interest Form to let us know how we can help.


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