Effectiveness of Community Health Workers in Providing Outreach and Education for Colorectal Cancer Screening in Appalachian Kentucky

Frances J. Feltner, Gretchen E. Ely, Elmer T. Whitler, David Gross, Mark Dignan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a community health worker (CHW)-delivered cancer education program designed to increase knowledge and awareness of colorectal cancer screening options. The study population was an extremely vulnerable and medically underserved geographic region in Appalachian Kentucky. CHWs enrolled participants in face-to-face visits, obtained informed consent, and administered a baseline assessment of knowledge of colorectal cancer risks and the benefits of screening and screening history. An educational intervention was then provided and participants were re-contacted 6 months later when a posttest was administered. The mean score of the 637 participants increased from 4.27 at baseline to 4.57 at follow-up (p <.001). Participants who reported asking their health care provider about colorectal cancer screening increased from 27.6% at baseline to 34.1% at follow-up (p =.013). Results suggest that CHWs were very effective at maintaining the study population; no loss to follow-up occurred. The results also showed increased knowledge and awareness about colorectal cancer screening education. Implications for social work practice, policy and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-440
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Work in Health Care
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

Keywords

  • cancer awareness
  • cancer education
  • colorectal screening
  • community health workers
  • medically underserved population
  • vulnerable population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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