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Community health worker interventions improve rates of US mammography screening
Date:6/23/2011

Tampa, FL (June 23, 2011) Education, referrals, support and other interventions by community health workers improve rates of screening mammography in the United States especially in medical and urban settings and among women whose race and ethnicity is similar to that of the community health workers serving them.

Researchers at the University of South Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center, and Georgia Southern University reported these findings earlier this month in an online first issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Their systematic review and analysis of a wide range of original studies evaluating community health worker programs offers a clearer, more powerful picture of the effectiveness of CHWs than the single studies alone some which found no improvement in mammography screening.

Community health workers (CHW) are lay people trained to serve as a bridge between people in their communities and health care providers and services. CHWs have traditionally served people who lack access to adequate health care and are at highest risk for poor outcomes. These liaisons have often been used to promote screenings for breast cancer, a disease with significant racial and socioeconomic disparities in mortality, survival rates and cancer stage at diagnosis.

"Our systematic study points to the fact that community health workers play an important role in helping medically underserved women obtain screening mammograms," said lead author Kristen Wells, PhD, MPH, assistant professor at the USF Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and Health Outcomes Research. "Future studies need to focus on what factors really drive the success of the interventions. What makes a strong community health worker program that best helps the most people?"

The researchers systematically reviewed 24 studies (randomized controlled trials, case-controlled studies and quasi-experimenta
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Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@health.usf.edu
813-974-3300
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert  

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