On June 29, 2004, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) facilitated a planning meeting on the Texas Cancer Plan (http://www.tcc.state.tx.us/texascancerplan/ ). An outcome of the June 2004 meeting included the development of a coalition in Tyler whose purpose was to discuss and address cancer issues within Smith County. Juanita Salinas, with DSHS, facilitated this meeting and many more as this group continued to meet and identify goals for the group. The first meeting of the Tyler Comprehensive Cancer Control Community Coalition occurred August 3, 2004. At the September 23rd meeting of the group it was decided to change the name to the Smith County Comprehensive Cancer Coalition (SCCCC). The coalition in January 2005 developed a prioritized list of needs for Smith County: 1) Establish cost effectiveness of prevention & early detection 2) Lack of ancillary services for cancer patients 3) Emotional/support services for cancer diagnoses.

Prior to the organization of the SCCCC, the Smith County Breast Health Network had been meeting regularly. The Smith County Breast Health Network group primarily made up the membership of the SCCCC. At the March 24, 2005 meeting of the SCCCC, it was suggested and agreed upon to merge the Smith County Breast Health Network with the SCCCC. These two organizations are collaboratives of multiple organizations with no one organization as the lead agency. Leadership is elected by volunteers from regular meeting attendees. Nick Sciarrini, Director of the Northeast Texas Public Health District at the time, agreed to take on the responsibilities of the chair of the SCCCC. He continued to serve as chair until his retirement in September 2006.

Currently, the Smith County Comprehensive Cancer Coalition is made up of organizations in the community having a vested interest in cancer care in Smith County. Participants include representatives from the American Cancer Society, East Texas Medical Center, Lake Country Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Northeast Texas Public Health District, Texas Department of State Health Services, Trinity Mother Frances Health System, Tyler Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, University of Texas Health Center at Tyler, area physicians and cancer survivors. Standing subcommittees include: Obesity Task Force, Tobacco Awareness, and Prostate Cancer Awareness.

The current chair of the SCCCC is Gretchen Stryker with Texas Department of State Health Services Region 4/5. For additional information contact the chair via e-mail at gretchen.stryker@dshs.state.tx.us.

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