WE-CARE is a continuation of the work of The Center for Equal Health (CEH). CEH was a partnership between the University of South Florida (USF), the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, and the Tampa Bay community developed in 2009 through a P20 grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). CEH worked to address cancer-related health disparities that impact minority and underserved populations of Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.
The Community Engagement and Outreach Core (CEOC) was one of five cores that made up CEH. Its purpose was to partner with the community through awareness and outreach activities in an effort to reduce cancer-related health disparities in the Tampa Bay area. One of the CEOC’s primary goals was to increase community interest in research participation and promote community ownership of research studies that lead to empowerment of community members to create sustainable, positive health outcomes.
In 2014 state appropriations enabled the CEH to become a state-wide institute – the Florida Health Equity Research Institute. At that same time WE-CARE was created to continue the mission of the community engagement and outreach core, though with a mission not specifically focused on cancer but for health more broadly. In 2015 WE-CARE partnered with 50 Hoops, and in April hosted the first Community Advocacy Matchmaking event.