CDC - Preventing Chronic Disease: Volume 9, 2012: 10_0262
COMMUNITY CASE STUDY
Design and Results of a Culturally Tailored Cancer Outreach Project by and for Micronesian Women
Nia Aitaoto, MPH, MS; Kathryn L. Braun, DrPH; Julia Estrella, MSW; Aritae Epeluk; JoAnn Tsark, MPH
Suggested citation for this article: Aitaoto N, Braun KL, Estrella J, Epeluk A, Tsark J. Design and results of a culturally tailored cancer outreach project by and for Micronesian women. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:100262. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd9.100262.
In 2005, approximately 26% of Micronesian women aged 40 or older in Hawai‘i used mammography for breast cancer screening. We describe an 18-month project to increase screening participation in this population by tailoring educational materials and using a lay educator approach.
New immigrants to Hawai‘i are Marshallese from the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Chuukese, Pohnpeians, and Kosraeans from the Federated States of Micronesia. In Hawai‘i, these 4 groups refer to themselves collectively as Micronesians, although each group has its own distinct culture and language.
From 2006 through 2007, we applied principles of community-based participatory research — trust building, joint assessment, cultural tailoring of materials, and skills transfer — to develop and track the reach of Micronesian women lay educators in implementing a cancer awareness program among Micronesian women living in Hawai‘i.
Using our tailored in-language materials, 11 lay educators (5 Chuukese, 3 Marshallese, 2 Pohnpeians, and 1 Kosraean) provided one-on-one and small group in-language cancer information sessions to 567 Micronesian women (aged 18-75 years). Among the 202 women aged 40 or older eligible for mammography screening, 166 (82%) had never had a mammogram and were assisted to screening appointments. After 6 months, 146 (88%) of the 166 had received a mammogram, increasing compliance from 18% to 90%. Lay educators reported increases in their skills and their self-esteem and want to extend their skills to other health issues, including diabetes management and immunization.
Tailoring materials and using the lay educator model successfully increased participation in breast cancer screening. This model may work in other communities that aim to reduce disparities in access to cancer screening.