Ohio State’s nursing program encourages its students to study abroad, and some programs even require it. But the students heading to Honduras during spring break are looking forward to more than just an academic experience.
The American Cancer Society has awarded a $1.7 million, five-year grant to fund the “Intergenerational Refugee and Immigrant Cancer Screening Project.” The grant was awarded to Jennifer Kue, PhD, (PI) who is an assistant professor in the Center of Excellence in Critical and Complex Care and director of the Office of Global Innovations at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. Co-investigators include Maryam Lustberg, MD, MPH, medical director of survivorship at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute; and Usha Menon, PhD, RN, FAAN and Laura Szalacha, EdD, both of University of South Florida.
While the rates for breast and cervical cancer in the U.S. have either remained stable or declined in the past two decades in most racial and ethnic populations, Asian Americans, specifically Southeast Asians, have experienced a significant rise in cancer incidence. Despite evidence that regular cancer screening reduces breast and cervical cancer mortality, Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant women continue to have strikingly low rates of screening.
“Early detection of breast and cervical cancer through regular screening is critical to reducing cancer morbidity and mortality rates and remains a significant national public health priority,” Kue stated. “Cancer is the leading cause of death in Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant women living in the U.S. Our intervention study will be the first to be implemented with Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant women in Ohio. The outcomes of this study will contribute to our long-term goal to improve breast and cervical cancer screening rates among Southeast Asian women.”
This multi-faceted intervention, combining culturally tailored messages and navigation from community health advisors in community and health clinic settings, has high potential for scalability across settings and diseases for hard-to-reach populations. In addition, this study focuses on breast and cervical cancer screening jointly, rather than centering on one cancer screening at a time, potentially increasing the efficiency and public health impact.