Community Ambassadors

three people sitting on a bench reading a brochure

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Ambassador Program is a volunteer network of individuals across Oregon dedicated to increasing community awareness of OHSU research and to building local capacity to participate in current /future research opportunities.

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is committed to improving the health and wellness of all Oregonians. As such, we need to hear about local cancer and health related concerns, as well as be able to share opportunities to participate in cutting edge science with community members from across the state. Community Ambassadors are an important connection between the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and communities statewide, and bring invaluable local perspective to researchers as they design and implement cancer research and programs.

Our mission

To support communities in understanding how they can participate in cancer-related research projects to promote healthier communities across Oregon.

Strategic objectives

  • Build and promote ongoing community engagement by informing and empowering local communities and community networks to participate in OHSU research projects.
  • Share the newest cancer-related projects and resources in your community.
  • Engage with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute by acting as stakeholders and representing the community voice.

The Community Ambassador Program is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is interested in advancing community-focused research and getting involved with OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. No prior training or experience is necessary.

Ideal qualifications

Have a passion for improving health and wellness in their community and an interest in learning more about and promoting research

  • Demonstrate experience working with the general public and representing collective community perspectives
  • Be strong communicators and play an active role in their community locally or regionally
  • Understand how and where to share information in their local area
  • Be willing to utilize their personal and professional networks to share OHSU led research opportunities

Expectations

  • Commit to this role for a minimum of one year
  • Attend Community Ambassador trainings (virtual, estimated 4-5 hours total) and completing the OHSU volunteer registration process
  • Participate in quarterly group meetings (virtual and/or in person) and email discussions
  • Volunteer a minimum of four hours per month to increase awareness among your community of Knight research opportunities

Additional benefits

  • Access to educational resources and materials related to cancer research/projects
  • Experience as an OHSU volunteer
  • Invitations to attend OHSU Knight Cancer Institute events, workshops and conferences
  • Contribute to the Knight Cancer Institute's goal to end cancer as we know it

To learn more about this program, please email knightcancercro@ohsu.edu

Community Ambassadors are volunteers with a personal interest in working with their local communities.

The primary role of an Ambassador is to represent local perspectives, and to be a direct connection between Oregon communities and OHSU researchers. Through this lens, Community Ambassadors support researchers by providing feedback on everything from messaging and materials to recruitment strategies. They utilize their firsthand knowledge, or lived experience, within a targeted region to support and inform Knight research.

Community Ambassadors can bring fresh perspectives and help you communicate to (and connect with) lay audiences. While Ambassadors are not able to directly recruit participants to join research projects, they provide a range of support to increase your success, including but not limited to:

  • Increasing community knowledge and awareness through promotion of your study/project to communities (e.g. presentations to stakeholder groups, tabling at community events, sharing project announcements through social media, email lists, etc.)
  • Providing local community perspective and feedback on study materials and messaging
  • Helping improve communication between researchers and the general public
  • Ensuring that research/project outcomes are relevant to Oregon communities

Training and qualifications

Knight Community Ambassadors bring a variety of skills and life experiences to their roles. Most importantly, ambassadors are well connected with their communities and have valuable local knowledge and perspectives to contribute.

Knight Ambassadors register through the Office of Volunteers and Visitors to receive an official OHSU badge. This badge signifies that they have passed a background check and completed training on topics such as HIPAA and Integrity Foundations. Knight Ambassadors also participate in an ambassador-specific training series, during which they complete modules including Community-Engaged Research and Cancer 101. 

Requesting community ambassador support

When seeking support from community-based Knight Community Ambassadors, submit a request 4-6 weeks prior to recruitment and/or project implementation. Please reach out to the Knight Community Outreach and Engagement team with any questions at KnightCancerCRO@ohsu.edu.

What is the Knight Community Ambassador Program?

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Ambassador program is a volunteer network of individuals across Oregon dedicated to increasing community awareness of OHSU research and to building local capacity to participate in current and future research opportunities. By working collaboratively with Community Ambassadors, OHSU researchers can meaningfully incorporate a diversity of perspectives in their work.

Why do we need community ambassadors?

Community Ambassadors are an important connection between the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and communities statewide, and bring invaluable local perspective to researchers as they design and implement cancer research and programs. Ambassadors:

  • Have valuable insight and ideas that support OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in its quest to help educate communities about research projects that are available in their communities and how they can participate.
  • Provide a grassroots approach to activate Oregonians through meaningful outreach
  • Share OHSU Knight Cancer Institute's best practices, to ensure a local context is considered in the preparation, conduct, and dissemination of cancer research.

Are community ambassadors official OHSU Knight Cancer Institute representatives?

Community Ambassadors are volunteers, and not representatives of OHSU. While they do not speak on OHSU's behalf, they are partners aligned with OHSU's principles. Statements made by Ambassadors should not be construed as statements from OHSU.

Who can become a community ambassador?

The Community Ambassador Program is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is interested in advancing community-focused research and getting involved with OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. 

Is prior experience or training required to be a community ambassador?

No prior training or experience is necessary.

What is the time commitment to be a community ambassador?

  • A minimum commitment of one year
  • Attending Community Ambassador training webinars and completing the OHSU volunteer registration process (approx. three hours to complete)
  • Be willing to volunteer at least four hours per month to increase awareness among your community of Knight research opportunities, including participation in quarterly group meetings (virtual and/or in person) and email discussions

How does OHSU support community ambassadors?

Community Ambassadors have the support and guidance of the Knight Community Outreach and Engagement team. They provide training and content to share with community networks, help address challenges, and strategize community-based partnerships.

What are the benefits to being a community ambassador?

  • Experience as an OHSU volunteer
  • Invitations to attend OHSU Knight Cancer Institute-directed events, workshops and conferences
  • Contribute to the Knight Cancer Institute's goal to end cancer as we know it

How do I apply to be a community ambassador?

OHSU researchers: How do I request support from the community ambassadors for my research study/project?

Community Ambassador request

Ambassadors connect OHSU researchers with Oregon communities.