Community Outreach Spotlight: Elecia Miller of the City of Lawrence Mayor's Health Task Force

Published 05/21/2024

City of Lawrence Mayor’s Health Task Force 
The City of Lawrence Mayor’s Health Task Force (MHTF) has been working closely with DF/HCC member institutions, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, to address health inequities in Lawrence, Massachusetts via the Viswanath Lab since 2005.  

The Mayor’s Health Task Force is a multisector coalition of health care, social service providers, environmental groups, academic and research institutions, local businesses, community leaders, and city planners whose mission is to “promote health equity for all through advocacy, education, capacity-building, and networking.” The coalition supports a predominantly Latino community, the largest in New England, with 74 percent of the city’s residents coming from the Caribbean or Central America. 

This work started with an NCI-funded project called MassCONECT that brought together a broad coalition of community health organizations, academic partners, providers, and policymakers to address cancer inequities in Boston, Lawrence, and Worcester, and has continued to evolve and grow with several projects including the UMass Boston–Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) U54 Partnership Outreach Core

Collaborations with Elecia Miller on the City of Lawrences Mayor’s Health Task Force is one of the ways that DF/HCC’s Center for Cancer Equity and Engagement (CCEE) is working to create bidirectional communication between the community and DF/HCC.  

Public Health Champion and CCEE Strategic Partner Elecia Miller  
Elecia Miller is the Coordinator of the Mayor’s Health Task Force, oversees MHTF daily operations, and brings public health education to the city. She is a crucial advocate and strategic partner to DF/HCC outreach efforts, and she serves on several DF/HCC and related advisory boards, including UMass Boston–Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center’s U54 Outreach Core, the DF/HCC Center for Cancer Equity and Engagement, and Harvard Catalyst

Recently, attendees of the 1/31/24 DF/HCC Celebration of Early Career Investigators event may have seen Elecia on a panel with Hermioni Amonoo, MD (BWH), Mingyang Song, MBBS, ScD (HSPH), and Lida Hariri, MD, PhD (MGH). Audience members and moderator Lorelei Mucci, MPH, ScD (HSPH), DF/HCC’s Deputy Associate Director for Population Science, posed questions to the panel concerning big questions and gaps in cancer population science, exciting new technologies, and potential strategies to better prepare early career investigators for the important work ahead in this field.  

Elecia’s voice as a knowledgeable and passionate community-embedded advocate was a critical and important part of the panel discussion and highlights the importance of sustaining strong partnerships to address community health concerns and promote health equity. Speaking to the power of partnerships, Elecia stated, “We have community knowledge of concerns, needs and trends, and established relationships with residents and local organizations. Dana-Farber[/Harvard Cancer Center’s] Center for Cancer Equity and Engagement (CCEE) has the expertise. Together, we can successfully change attitudes and behaviors related to cancer, cancer prevention, and treatment.” Her remarks underscore the impact of collaborations and how we can leverage community insights and expertise to improve cancer care across the continuum.  

Fostering Bidirectional Communication
Under the leadership of Associate Director Vish Viswanath, PhD (DFCI), Deputy Director Christopher Lathan, MD, MS, MPH (DFCI), Deputy Director Karen Burns White (DFCI), and Assistant Director Sara Minsky (DFCI), the DF/HCC’s CCEE seeks to create lasting and bidirectional connections between the community and DF/HCC's research, toward the goal of trying to better understand the cancer burden and catalyzing cancer research of priority to Massachusetts communities. 

As part of this effort, CCEE will share regular updates highlighting ways in which DF/HCC has collaborated with communities across Massachusetts in the DF/HCC Consortium Weekly newsletter. If you have stories or partnerships to share, please reach out to the CCEE team at  

To learn more about their efforts, visit the CCEE page, or email them at or