SOMC Nurse On Keeping the Faith: Surviving Cancer in Appalachia


Delrita Gilliland, Registered Nurse at the Southern Ohio Medical Center, recently presented at The Science of Cancer Health Disparities Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities in conjunction with the American Association for Cancer Research, this conference attracted more than 600 attendees including scientists, health professionals from academia, industry, government and the community. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the latest finding and to stimulate the development of new research in cancer health disparities.

At the plenary session on disparities in cancer survivorship, Gilliland shared insight about cancer survivorship issues in the Appalachian community through her “Keeping the Faith: Surviving Cancer in Appalachia” presentation.

Gilliland was asked to present because of her personal experience as a cancer survivor, along with her experience working with cancer survivors at SOMC and in the community. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, she has been a strong advocate for breast health as a Reach to Recovery volunteer, Special Touch instructor, Relay for Life committee member, and an American Cancer Society Board member.

In 1994, Ms. Gilliland became a charter member and has continuously served on the Fight Cancer, Save Lives Coalition, a community-based coalition formed by the Appalachia Leadership Initiative on Cancer.