Effectiveness of a Community-Based Healthcare Worker Cancer Prevention and Referral Program in an Uninsured/Underinsured Minority Community
Introduction/Purpose: Cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States. Healthcare disparities contribute to increased cancer prevalence among vulnerable populations. Strategies to fight cancer, such as use of a community-based healthcare worker (CBHW), is an innovative way to decrease cancer healthcare disparities. The purpose of this project was to evaluate effectiveness of a CBHW cancer prevention and referral program in an uninsured/underinsured minority community. Methods: A prospective pre-/post-intervention design was used. Participants attended once weekly 60-minute virtual education sessions conducted by a CBHW. Pre-/post-intervention survey data pertaining to knowledge of cancer prevention (health literacy), the number of due/overdue cancer screenings, and the number of positive cancer screen participants referred and connected to the appropriate cancer care/treatment were compared at the end of an 8-week period. Results: Results revealed a statistically significant improvement in participant knowledge of cancer prevention (p < 0.05) at the end of the 8-week period, but a statistically significant improvement was not seen in preventative cancer screenings (p = 0.104). None of the participants reported a positive cancer screening or the need to be referred to the patient navigator, therefore, zero referrals were made during the 8-week period. Discussion: The CBHW intervention led to improved knowledge of cancer prevention, but minimal improvement was seen in preventative cancer screenings among participants.