219488 Chumnguh Thlam: Understanding liver illness and hepatitis B among Cambodian immigrants

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nancy J. Burke, PhD , Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Hoai Do, MPH , Cancer Prevention Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Jocelyn Talbot, BA , Cancer Prevention Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Channdara Sos, MBA , Cancer Prevention Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Danika Svy, BS , Cancer Prevention Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Vicky Taylor, MD, MPH , Cancer Prevention Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Background: Cambodian immigrants are over 25 times more likely to have evidence of chronic hepatitis B infection than the general US population. Carriers of hepatitis B are over 100 times more likely to develop liver cancer than non-carriers. Liver cancer incidence is the second leading cancer for Cambodian men and the sixth for Cambodian women. Despite this, this underserved population has received very little attention from health disparities researchers. Culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions are necessary to increase hepatitis B knowledge, serologic testing, and vaccination among Cambodian Americans. Methods: Eight group interviews were held with Cambodian American men (48) and women (49). Results: Focus group discussions revealed social and cultural issues important to hepatitis B and liver cancer control programs focused on Cambodian Americans. Participants discussed a range of understandings and concerns about hepatitis B illness, transmission and prevention, spanning from etiology informed by humoral theories to more biomedical understandings of disease course. We categorized the content of these discussions into dominant themes about liver health and illness influenced by 1) Theravada Buddhist beliefs and practices, Khmer medicine, and experiences with/understandings of biomedicine (Therapeutic Pluralism); and 2) beliefs about hepatitis B transmission and causes embedded in personal experiences and socio-historical circumstances of migration (Transculturation). Conclusions: Our findings reveal the value of qualitative exploration in providing cultural context to biomedical information a formula for effective health promotion and practice.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
At the end of the session, participants will be able to understand 1) Cambodian immigrants have a high risk for chronic hepatitis B infection and recognize 2)culturally and lingustically appropriate interventions are needed to increase hepatitis B knowledge, serologic testing and vaccinations among Cambodian Americans.

Keywords: Health Education, Hepatitis B

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have over 10 years of experience working with the immigrant population and health related issues. I also reviewed, coded all the qualitative data collected and assisted with the analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.