Circle of Life Cancer Education: Giving Voice to American Indian and Alaska Native Communities


By Valerie Eschiti

2013, Journal of Cancer Education


The Circle of Life (COL) was first developed in 1991 as a breast health program through a partnership between the American Cancer Society and a committee of lay and professional volunteers in Oklahoma with representation from Oklahoma American Indian tribal communities.  In 2008, The Society was awarded funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand and enhance COL.  Since then, The Society has engaged a variety of tribal health and education leaders and Society staff to comprise a COL advisory workgroup.  The workgroup’s mission was to make recommendations and provide guidance in a revision of COL.  Four cultural values emerged from the engagement of the workgroup:  (1) the value of visual communication, (2) the value of interconnected generations, (3) the value of storytelling, and (4) the value of experiential learning.  These four concepts greatly shaped the revision of the COL educational tools and resources.



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