Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is the purpose of the Geographic Health Equity Alliance (The Alliance)?

The purpose of The Alliance is to empower its network, Advisory Council and members to reduce cancer and tobacco-related risk factors affecting geographically disadvantaged populations. To do this, we help to identify gaps in information, provide leadership and expertise and promote health interventions that support appropriate partnerships to reduce geographic health disparities.

2. What is a geographic health disparity?

Geographic health disparities are differences in health behaviors and health outcomes related to where people live. Geographic location contributes to one’s ability to achieve good health. Geographic disparities exist at the state, county, regional, local and even neighborhood level and may reflect underlying differences in population characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, poverty or insurance coverage. Disparities tied to geography may exacerbate other disparities, often known as a “double disadvantage”.

3. What services does The Alliance offer?

The Alliance can help to disseminate and translate information, provide tools and strategies to improve tobacco prevention and cancer prevention efforts, provide customized technical assistance and assist with community mapping.

For example, The Alliance….

  • Conducted environmental scans in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi and directed on camera interviews to develop a video highlighting geographic health disparities and work that is being done in the South.
  • Developed and assisted in the dissemination of a 16-page Newspaper in Education Supplement aimed at teaching young people and parents about the harms and effects of tobacco use.
  • Develops, shares and promotes blogs on our webpage highlighting southern approaches for health disparities, tobacco prevention strategies and cancer screening best practices.
  • Hosts an annual Symposium to provide training to our members on cancer survivorship, GIS mapping, smokefree ordinances, and promising practices in rural areas.
4. How is The Alliance organized? Does The Alliance have Regional Offices?

The Alliance is operated by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and supported by Wake Forest School of Medicine; and GTM, Inc., an Atlanta-based advertising agency. The Alliance is located in Alexandria, Virginia. We do not have regional offices, although we provide support to all states.

5. What are the hours of operation of The Alliance?

The Alliance operates under the business hours 8:30 – 5:30 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday.

6. What are some of the specific topics The Alliance may be able to help me with?
  • Understanding geographic health disparities
  • Coalition building and training on the 7 strategies for community change
  • Coalition effectiveness and sustainability
  • Minimizing secondhand smoke exposure
  • Linking to appropriate cancer control resources
  • Tailoring mass-reach health communication interventions
  • Mapping community assets and risks
7. How do I request technical assistance?

You can submit technical assistance requests through the comment box on our website (, through email or by phone 703-706-0560 ext. 273.

8. What is the typical response time to a question?

We generally respond to questions within 24 hours during the business week.

9. Do your services cost anything?

Access to our website which includes tools and resources, remote technical assistance, membership, and registration for our annual Geographic Health Disparities Symposium are free to members.

10. Can individuals and organizations join The Alliance? How can I join?

Yes, both individuals and organizations can join the Network.

The easiest way to join is by filling out our online join form at You can also call Colleen Hopkins, Program Coordinator, at 703-706-0560 ext. 260 to sign up over the phone.

11. What are the benefits of being a member?

Benefits of being a member include showcasing your success stories and lessons learned with a national audience, connecting with a national network of professionals working in special populations, and accessing a library of data, reports and news highlighting geographic health disparities.

12. What is expected of members who join The Alliance?

We love for our members to be engaged with us through our website and email, but there is no expectation from network members.

13. I am interested in having someone speak on a topic at a conference or train at my organization, who should I contact?

If you are interested in discussing potential speakers and trainers, contact Alicia D. Smith, MPH, Program and Outreach Manager, at

14. Does The Alliance represent people, organizations, state agencies, etc.?

The Alliance is a national network of coalitions, state programs, public health departments, national organizations, researchers and other community-based agencies dedicated to addressing tobacco and cancer-related geographic health disparities.

15. Does The Alliance directly communicate with legislators or other policy-makers reflecting a position on specific public health legislation?

The Alliance does not directly communicate with legislators or other policy-makers.

16. I am a member of the press and would like to conduct an interview with a member of The Alliance. What is the process I should follow?

To discuss how to conduct an interview, submit your request to including your contact information and interview topic.

17. How is The Alliance funded? Can other supporters fund The Alliance?

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) and the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) collaborated to support a consortium of national networks to advance commercial tobacco use prevention and cancer prevention in populations experiencing tobacco-related and cancer health disparities, which funds The Alliance. Other supporters may also fund The Alliance. For more information, contact Mary Elliott, Principal Investigator, at or 703-706-0560 ext. 247.