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    Research Grants Awarded

    Integrating Health Literacy and Community Based Education to Improve Breast Health Among Hispanics

    Study Section:
    Population Specific

    Scientific Abstract:
    Background: Hispanic women in South Texas bear a disproportionate burden of cancer health disparities. Almost one third present with advanced breast cancer a finding that has been linked with screening practices and barriers, access, culture and possibly low health literacy. Health literacy is a critical component of health behaviors. Its integration into a community based screening and education program may increase screening rates among Hispanic women. Objective: The objective of this study is to implement a culturally appropriate, community based, breast cancer education program for both women and men in an urban South Texas community to increase health literacy and improve breast cancer screening practices. Aims: The specific aims of the study are to: 1) Assess health literacy among Hispanic women and men in a south Texas community, 2) Implement a culturally specific, community based breast cancer education program that integrates health literacy techniques and 3) Evaluate health literacy, breast cancer knowledge and adherence to initial screening following program participation. Study Design: A preliminary community assessment will be conducted to assess health literacy among Hispanic men and women in the target area. The assessment will be augmented with two focus groups to discuss breast cancer knowledge, attitudes and practices among men and women living in the target area. The results of this assessment will allow us to tailor the intervention materials to the needs of the community. Following this assessment phase the intervention will implemented and approximately 20 programs will be conducted in the community. Participants will be followed up at a two month interval to determine the impact the intervention had on retention of breast cancer knowledge, ability to correctly conduct BSE, adherence to screening appointment, and health literacy. Potential Outcomes and Benefits of the Research: This program could lead to increased knowledge among participants regarding breast health and screening and enhance our understanding of the relationship between health literacy and cancer screening in the Hispanic population. Ultimately, this program could be used to educate Hispanic communities throughout the south Texas region.

    Lay Abstract:
    Hispanic women in south Texas are diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer at higher rates when compared to other women due in part to lower screening rates. Education and awareness, cultural customs and moirés, access and possibly health literacy may interact to produce these low screening rates. Health literacy combined with breast cancer and screening education may increase screening rates among Hispanic women and ultimately reduce the proportion of women diagnosed with advanced disease. The objective of this project is to implement a culturally relevant breast cancer education program with integrated health literacy techniques in a south Texas community to improve health literacy and increase breast cancer screening. To accomplish this we will 1) perform a baseline assessment of health literacy in a south Texas community,2) implement a community based breast cancer education program containing health literacy tools for Hispanic women and men,and 3) evaluate health literacy, breast cancer knowledge and adherence to screening following program participation. This program may increase screening and breast cancer knowledge, increase our understanding of the relationship between health literacy and behavior and ultimately be used to educate the Hispanic community in South Texas .