To reduce the impact of cancer on individuals and communities in Maine through collaboration and systems improvement.
In 2015, Maine Cancer Foundation (MCF) began exploring how to reduce the impact of cancer in Maine through statewide collaboration. The Foundation recognized that sustained, effective change would require active collaboration between individuals and organizations throughout Maine.
In 2016, using a collective impact model, Maine’s Impact Cancer Network (MICN) launched.
Since its inception, MICN has become a 500+ member strong coalition. Now recognized by the state and federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as Maine’s official cancer coalition, MICN achieves its goals with funding from MCF and in kind support from its diverse membership.
Maine’s Impact Cancer Network (MICN) uses the collective impact framework to guide its work. This framework encourages a diverse group of people to come together to work on shared goals. All work rests upon the idea that the impact of any initiative or project is greater when stakeholders collaborate rather than working alone.
MICN uses the collective impact model because it provides structure but is also flexible and able to adapt to a changing landscape. Equally important, it provides guidance for its membership. MICN recognizes that reducing cancer in Maine will require cross-sector collaboration. To that end, MICN specifically recruits Mainers who work in non-profit organizations, government, the business community, and Mainers who have lived experience with cancer. All interested Mainers are welcome to join the Network and participate in its work.
Maine Cancer Foundation (MCF) currently serves as MICN’s administrative backbone and provides financial support for its coalition work. Other individuals and organizations are welcome to join MCF in this role.
At MCF’s Challenge Cancer Conference in 2016 and into the spring of 2017, MICN held community conversations to learn more about Mainers’ experiences with cancer. The community conversations were held throughout the state and focused on 3 questions:
- What is happening with cancer in your life, community, or organization?
- What is the change you would like to see with cancer in your life, community, or organization?
- How can we work together to make this change happen?
Based on the community conversations and discussions with 670 Mainers MICN drafted a common agenda to meet the ultimate goal of reducing the impact of cancer on individuals and communities in Maine through collaboration and systems improvement. The key themes in MICN’s common agenda are:
- HEALTHCARE SYSTEM COLLABORATION: There is an overall desire to see health systems increase collaboration with one another. This would include collaboration between healthcare providers and healthcare administrative staff.
- ACCESS TO CARE: There is a need for increased access to transportation and lodging services for cancer patients. Mainers also voiced a desire for patient navigators to assist them in accessing their care.
- EDUCATION ABOUT CANCER PREVENTION, DETECTION, AND TREATMENT: An increase in education related to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment should occur throughout the state. Community members also agreed that there is a need to help patients access local and regional resources.
- ADVOCACY: Community conversation participants also felt that issues affecting Mainers impacted by cancer must be shared with state legislators and government departments.
- SURVIVORSHIP: Both youth and adult cancer survivors need increased access to services, including palliative care, support groups, and assistance from employers when returning to work.
To learn more about MICN’s path forward, read our Community Plan and learn what our Task Forces are working on.