Community Outreach and Engagement

Our community

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) is dedicated to serving the cancer-related needs of Vermont and New Hampshire (our 'catchment area') through excellent clinical care, cutting-edge research, and our Community Outreach and Engagement Initiative. Our Community Outreach and Engagement Initiative is focused on reducing the burden of cancer in Vermont and New Hampshire, especially in our most rural communities.

NH VT Urban Rural Map

Research shows that people living in rural areas are often more affected by cancer than people living in urban areas. For example:

  • People living in rural areas are more likely to get cervical, colorectal, oropharyngeal (mouth/throat) and lung cancers.1
  • Rural areas have higher rates of death caused by cancer, and the rate is increasing.1

People living in rural areas are also more likely to smoke, less likely to get the HPV vaccine, and less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer—all of which increases the chance of getting cancer.1,2

NCCC's Community Outreach & Engagement initiative

NCCC's Community Outreach & Engagement initiative is serving our community with the following three aims in mind:

  1. Identify, measure, and monitor the cancer control needs and cancer health equity issues throughout the catchment area through engagement of a community advisory board observational studies; and surveillance of health system, state, and national data.
  2. Address the cancer control needs and cancer health equity issues of our catchment area through community-engaged interventions, increased participation in clinical trials, and regional collaborations—with an emphasis on rural and underserved populations.
  3. Promote cancer research findings from NCCC's four scientific programs across the cancer control continuum for translation into sustainable policy, program, and health system enhancements.


Tracy Onega

Tracy Onega, PhD, MS, MA
Associate Director of Community Outreach & Engagement

Our Community Outreach & Engagement team supports investigators across all NCCC research programs to ensure that our research programs are having an impact on our catchment area. Our Community Outreach & Engagement team can be contacted by emailing

  1. Henley SJ, Anderson RN, Thomas CC, Massetti GM, Peaker B, Richardson LC. Invasive Cancer Incidence, 2004-2013, and Deaths, 2006-2015, in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Counties - United States. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Surveillance summaries. Jul 7 2017;66(14):1-13.
  2. Walker TY, Elam-Evans LD, Singleton JA, et al. National, Regional, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescents Aged 13-17 Years - United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. Aug 25 2017;66(33):874-882.