160982 Women's Health Navigators: Moving Breast Cancer Awareness in African American Communties from Margin to Center

Monday, November 5, 2007: 9:30 AM

Dee M. Baldwin, PhD RN , Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
Sandra Mitchell, MEd, EdS , Jacksonville State University, Dallas, GA
OBJECTIVES: This study explored the use of women health navigators as community leaders to educate low-income African American women (AAW) about breast cancer screening and early detection. It has been documented that many AAW are in the margins in terms of their knowledge level and participation in cancer screenings. We hypothesized that Women Health Navigators (WHNs) could: 1) increase the number of women who participate in breast cancer education and screening in their respective communities and 2) serve as a resource for ensuring that breast health messages remain ongoing, visible, and center in the lives of the women they serve. METHODS: A qualitative study was employed to uncover the lived experience of WHNs who serve as community leaders in promoting breast health in African American communities. Three research questions guided the study: 1) What are the experiences of WHNs in promoting breast health in African American communities? 2) What are the barriers that WHNs encounter in promoting breast health in African American communities? and 3) What are the strategies that WHNs use to sustain breast health messages and awareness in African American communities? Participants consisted of 25 African American women employed as women health navigators in an academic institution located in the southeastern part of the United States. Data generation strategies consisted of the use of focus group data and face-to-face interviews. Data analysis was completed using content analysis. RESULTS: Findings revealed four major themes: 1) Giving Back, 2) Taking Responsibility, 3) Helping Somebody and 4) Feeling Good About Self. These findings suggest that African American women who serve as community leaders take pride in helping other women to engage in the promotion of healthy lifestyles and cancer screenings. They believe it is their duty and responsibility to keep women apprised of current education and the location of mammography resources in their neighborhoods and communities. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that African American women who live on the periphery in terms of mammography screenings can be moved to the center through the use of Women Health Navigators, as community leaders and advocates.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of the presentation, the participants should be able to: 1) Discuss community strategies for promoting breast cancer awareness in African American Communities and 2) Describe a leadership model using soical networks as method for promoting breast health in African American communities.

Keywords: Women's Health, Cancer Screening

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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