June Core Spotlight: Health Communication Core

June, 2017

In this DF/HCC News Spotlight Edition, we present the DF/HCC Health Communication Core (HCC). The Core’s creative and strategic communication services support research activities from grant application through dissemination. Founded in 1999 by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Health Communication Core has been cited by the National Cancer Institute as a “model core for the country.”

Recent Updates

The following resources for researchers, and many more, have been developed by the Core and are available on its website:

Follow HCC on Facebook for ongoing updates about projects, client publications, and research communication best practices. 

Key Services

The Core's communication expertise is coupled with in-depth knowledge of health topics and cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship issues. Core staff have extensive experience supporting research recruitment, retention, intervention, and dissemination activities with a full spectrum of creative services:

The Core’s rates for DF/HCC members are a fraction of those charged by external vendors, and its cost-effectiveness is augmented by expertise in recruitment, retention, education, and dissemination strategies that most other groups lack.

More Information

Project Highlights

Center for Cancer Genome Discovery

DFCI’s Center for Cancer Genome Discovery (CCGD) worked with HCC to develop an online platform that facilitates access to its genomic technology platforms and data analysis tools by basic, translational, and clinical investigators. Potential collaborators can establish individual accounts, then draft and submit proposals, which select committees of CCGD faculty and scientific advisors review, comment, and vote via the secure (https) site.

Contribution of the Core: Web development and hosting
Publication: Genomic landscape of high-grade meningiomas. Linda BW et al. Genomic Medicine/Nature. April 2017. 


Advancing Survivors’ Knowledge (ASK) About Skin Cancer randomized study participants to receive a dermoscopy device with which they could use their cell phones to send high-resolution images of abnormal marks on their skin to a secure online repository for review by the study dermatologist.

Contribution of the Core: Study branding (name and logo), print and online materials for participants and their primary care physicians (with videos, image library, interactive quizzes, and clinician-only section), video production, secure online image repository
Publication: Advancing Survivors’ Knowledge (ASK) about skin cancer study: A randomized intervention within the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). Geller A et al. Journal of Clinical Oncology. January 2016.


The Nurses’ Health Study launched its first dedicated website to mark the 40th anniversary of its research.

Contribution of the Core: Logo, content, graphic design, website development
Publication: The September 2016 issue of the American Journal of Public Health was devoted to honoring the contributions of the Nurses' Health Studies.


PREMM5 is a free, online tool for use by primary care physicians and genetic counselors to help expand the reach of Lynch syndrome testing into the primary care setting so people can be proactive about their preventive cancer care.

Contribution of the Core: PREMM5 logo and online user interface
Publication: Development and Validation of the PREMM5 Model for Comprehensive Risk Assessment of Lynch Syndrome. Syngal S et al. Journal of Clinical Oncology. May 2017.


YES Health (Your Experience: Speak up for better health care) helped collect data on quality-of-care issues affecting people with significant chronic physical disabilities or mental health diagnoses.

Contribution of the Core: Branding (name and logo), fully accessible interactive website, print recruitment materials
Publication: Collaborative design of a health care experience survey for persons with disability. Iezzoni L et al. April 2017