NCI's Decision About the CIS Partnership Program
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) issued a special notice on October
1, 2008 of its intent to procure services in support of its toll-free
Contact Center, or 1-800-4-CANCER, which includes telephone, TTY,
instant messaging, and e-mail.
A second special notice was also published indicating that NCI
does not intend to contract for the other services that are currently
part of the Cancer Information Service (CIS) contracts, allowing
those contract tasks to end on their expiration date of January,
We recognize that this decision has raised many questions within
the cancer community. This web page will attempt to answer questions
and address concerns. We will continue to update this page as
more information becomes available.
If you have additional questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CIS Partnership Program Teleconference Decision: December 2, 2008
1:00 p.m. -2:00 p.m. (ET)
NCI convened a teleconference on December 2, 2008 on the decision not to renew
the contract for the Cancer Information Service (CIS) Partnership Program once it
expires in January, 2010. The call was provided as a forum for answering questions
from the community about this decision. Featured speakers included Ms. Lenora
Johnson, Director of NCI’s Office of Communications and Education (OCE), Ms. Mary
Anne Bright, Associate Director, Office of Public Information and Resource
Management, OCE, and Ms. Madeline La Porta, Associate Director, Office of
Partnerships and Dissemination Initiatives, OCE.
Toll-Free Playback will be available through January 2, 2009 at 1-800-262-5125.
- Why was a decision made to end the CIS Partnership Program?
The NCI remains committed to our partners and our efforts in
the community to bring cancer information to those most in need.
The decision to not renew the current structure of the CIS Partnership
Program was made to allow us to examine the unique contributions
we can make, where the greatest impact might be realized. This
entails looking across the many NCI programs that support outreach
and dissemination activities, aligning them with the current
state of knowledge and needs, examining data to identify the
populations most vulnerable to specific cancers, and then determining
how we can provide the greatest benefit to those populations.
The current climate demands that we maximize all of NCI's dissemination
programs in order to demonstrate measurable impact. Since the
inception of the Partnership Program in 1984, outreach and dissemination
strategies have evolved and the number of NCI-supported and
non-NCI supported organizations involved in cancer control and
the dissemination of cancer information has increased substantially.
In addition, implementation of state cancer control plans is
well underway. Between now and 2010, NCI will re-examine how
our programs and services are distinguishable from, and complementary
to, the services other organizations provide within the cancer
community. This will help us avoid redundant activities and
reposition NCI resources to focus on priority areas that have
the potential for greatest impact on reducing cancer burden
and those we stand uniquely capable of addressing.
- How will the NCI fulfill the CIS task to work with the
medically underserved? Who is going to do this work?
NCI recognizes the pivotal role played by the CIS Partnership
Program to collaborate with organizations to conduct outreach,
education, and communications efforts to reach medically underserved
and minority communities that suffer disproportionately from
cancer. These efforts were designed specifically to meet the
needs of diverse and particularly vulnerable populations. NCI
will continue to work with our national partners representing
these communities and will continue to support cancer control
activities across the country. With this commitment, NCI will
- Broaden and utilize its network of extramural
scientists and cancer centers to connect patients and their
families to the highest caliber, cancer care innovations in
the communities where they live, integrating research within,
and building the capacity of, community-based institutions.
- Expand its own programs to actively reach
out to medically underserved and minority communities to address
the underlying causes of cancer health disparities.
- Examine the current environment and knowledge
base to better understand how we might further the work of
our partners, as well as fill gaps and reduce redundancies.
Our hope is that this will allow more efforts to truly move
towards public-private partnerships that serve to deliver the
best evidence-based innovations to those who stand to benefit
Is this decision reversible?
There are no plans to revisit the decision. As responsible
stewards of public funds, NCI is constantly reevaluating needs
against ever changing environments and scientific priorities.
Likewise, we are evaluating our dissemination and outreach efforts
in order to:
- Remain at the forefront of providing the latest,
most accurate cancer information to the communities we serve,
- Effectively reach out to those populations
that are most vulnerable to the impact of cancer.
Did funding play a role in this decision?
No, not necessarily. However, the current economic situation
does require NCI to think strategically about how resources
are invested and whether these investments render the best approaches
to achieve the greatest impact. More now than ever before, with
limited resources, NCI must demonstrate responsible stewardship.
The decision to allow the current CIS Partnership Program contract
tasks to expire in January 2010 forces us to think carefully
about our priorities and work to leverage advances in technology
and research dissemination. We will also be working to determine
how best to align efforts and investments in outreach and communication
programs in ways that result in the greatest measurable impacts
in reducing the cancer burden.
Did the decision have anything to do with the performance
of the organizations in the Partnership Program?
Absolutely not. This decision has nothing to do with performance.
Rather, it has to do with developing a certainty in knowing
our efforts are appropriate for today’s information and
outreach environments. Just as we carefully review our scientific
initiatives and examine how best to optimize their potential
for reducing the burden of cancer, we need to carefully consider
our information, outreach, and dissemination activities across
NCI and be sure they are designed in a way that achieves the
Who will work with the current CIS partners after January
Collaboration is, and will remain, key to NCI’s success
in achieving our mission to reduce the burden of cancer. Continuing
collaborations with organizations with which NCI has existing
relationships and forging new partnerships with other organizations
with similar goals will be central in our efforts to reach out
to those populations that are most vulnerable to the impact
of cancer. NCI alone could never meet all the information needs
of our diverse cancer community. We recognize that the only
way we can make progress is to work through collaborations.
There are numerous efforts underway that engage a host of partners,
many of which include organizations who have partnered with
the CIS. Between now and January 2010, NCI will consider these
engagements and work as efficiently as possible to gain a better
understanding of those relationships and how the Institute can
best facilitate these and future activities.
NCI’s Office of Communications and Education will serve
as the coordinators for current and future partnerships. Centralizing
partnership efforts will provide greater connectivity between
partner organizations and the NCI and help to more closely align
outreach activities with other dissemination activities of the
Why was the Contact Center approved, but not the Partnership
The CIS Contact Center allows the public to connect directly
to the Institute. The Contact Center provides an entry point
to the NCI that is like none other. In addition, the Contact
Center has recently expanded its services to reach non-English
speaking populations. Understanding the impact of this expansion
is very important to the NCI.
NCI founded the Partnership Program when it became apparent
that certain populations were not taking advantage of the telephone
service for accessing NCI and the vital information it offers
regarding cancer prevention and control. Since the inception
of the Partnership Program in 1984, information dissemination
has changed. These changes include the ways people receive information,
the number and types of organizations providing information,
and the ability to tailor information to specific individual’s
needs and situation. It is important that we consider these
changes and their impact on NCI’s outreach strategies
and approaches. Rather than re-compete the Partnership Program
as it has been defined for the last decade, we are taking this
opportunity to determine how NCI can most effectively and efficiently
disseminate important cancer information, and engage communities
in order to realize an impact in the lives of those we serve.
Why did NCI decide to reduce the number of contact centers?
Because an active procurement process is underway, all questions
regarding the contact center procurement should be addressed
to NCI’s Office of Acquisitions. Please refer to the
public announcement in FedBizOpps for contact information.
Since the Partnership program is not being renewed, how
will the existing contract tasks be completed?
NCI expects that all current contractors will uphold their
contractual obligations through the end of their contracts in
January, 2010. For more specific information related to existing
contracts, CIS staff and contracting institutions should contact
the appropriate NCI Contracting Officer or contract specialist.
Was there any public input?
There have been several assessments of the CIS Partnership
Program where input was sought from numerous stakeholders –
including a large partnership program survey that was conducted
in early 2008 where input was gathered from close to 800 partnering
organizations. In addition, there have been several reviews
and assessments of communication, outreach, and dissemination
programs over the past couple of years. These assessments were
not necessarily performed to support a decision about the Partnership
Program but to gain an understanding of the attributes of the
CIS Program and to better articulate those attributes.
What will happen to ongoing programs like Cancer 101 and
Using What Works?
These programs, as well as others like the Clinical Trials
Education Series, are part of NCI’s inventory of communications
tools. NCI will continue to refine these and other tools and
consider ways to implement them and make them available for
use by our partners.
What will happen to ongoing research involving the CIS
NCI has and will continue to support research that contributes
to cancer control, cancer communications, and contribute to
our evidence-base of dissemination science. NCI will continue
to solicit proposals through its standard mechanisms for research
in community-based cancer programming, dissemination research,
communications research, and cancer control interventions research.
What is the CIS budget?
The total current annual budget for CIS is $16,666,507 for Fiscal Year
(FY) 2008 and $15, 566,507 for FY 2009. The total current annual budget for
the Partnership program is $9,166,578 for FY 2008 and $8,561,578 for FY 2009.
55% of the total CIS annual budget is spent on the Partnership Program.
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Last Updated 12/05/2008