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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Vanderbilt: Seeks to Enhance Cancer Screening for Hispanic/Latina Women

Providing access to a culturally appropriate community health worker during breast cancer screenings may impact elements of patient care and satisfaction among Hispanic/Latina women, Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers report in American Journal of Roentgenology.

Dr. Lucy Spalluto, assistant professor of radiology and radiological sciences, and colleagues recruited 100 Hispanic/Latina women previously not engaged in well-woman screening services to receive screening mammography in a study designed to evaluate the effects of a “promotora” — a lay Hispanic/Latino community member who provides basic health education and can assist women during the screening process — on patient satisfaction with care.

The study was designed in partnership with Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center, the American Cancer Society, the Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.

“The literature shows that Hispanic/Latina women utilize screening mammography less than their white counterparts,” said Dr. Spalluto. “The promotora model used in this study provides a culturally appropriate lay community health worker to engage the Hispanic/Latino community in screening services.”

More than 90 percent of participants were recruited through community outreach efforts alone, and none of them had previously received regular mammography screenings.

Dr. Spalluto hopes to conduct future studies that dive deeper into the relationship between a community health worker and a patient to determine factors that make the approach successful. Insight into these relationships could allow the model to be translated to other cultures.

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