Public Health Television (PHTV, Inc.) is an Emmy award-winning production company based in Cleveland, Ohio that receives funding from the National Institutes of Health, major hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies, and public health entities to produce an array of medical/scientific content and digital initiatives with a special focus on health equity and social justice. PHTV specializes in creating and implementing video-based outreach campaigns for low-income African Americans and Hispanics. PHTV developed and tested a culturally-specific production process with five grants funded by the National Cancer Institute. The largest grant led to the creation of a nationally-acclaimed media campaign known as the Urban Cancer Project®  presented at the Congressional Black Caucus as a national model to address cancer disparities.

The Urban Cancer Project®

The Urban Cancer Project® was a collaboration between PHTV; the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, which includes Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, and the Cleveland Clinic; and residents of Cleveland’s public housing community. The project put public housing residents in the driver’s seat to direct the production of outreach materials by framing the narrative of their community along with earmarking appropriate visuals and messaging formats.

The purpose was to design and test the effectiveness of a video-based campaign to address three key issues related to cancer disparities affecting low-income African Americans—awareness & screening, clinical trials participation, and the cultural competency of providers who care for minority patients. Producers conducted 44 focus group sessions with African American residents of Cleveland’s public housing estates to gain an understanding of barriers that keep low-income African Americans from getting screened for cancer, adhering to treatment, and participating in clinical research studies. This research, which spanned a three-year period and involved over 200 public housing residents, afforded producers a unique understanding of the fears and ethnomedical beliefs held by members of this community regarding the healthcare system.

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