230807 TCM Practitioners as Complementary Health Educators for Colorectal Cancer Prevention Among Chinese Americans in San Francisco

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jun Wang, PhD , Health Education, San Francisco State university, San Francisco, CA
Adam Burke, PhD, MPH, LAc , Health Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Tung T. Nguyen, MD , Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Rena Pasick, DrPH , Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Janice Tsoh, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, UCSF, San Francisco, CA
Lei-Chun Fung, MPH, MSW , Health Education Department, Chinatown Public Health Center, San Francisco, CA
Ching Wong, BS , Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Kent Woo, MSW , NICOS Chinese Health Coalition, San Francisco, CA
Linda Shiue, MD , University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Gem Le, PhD, MHS , Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Fremont, CA
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer among Chinese Americans. Although effective prevention exists through CRC screening, rates of screening in this population are low. Prior studies indicate that Chinese Americans frequently utilize Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) providers. The goal is to explore whether these providers can serve as a useful addition to a community-based lay health educator strategy, given their unique role and accessibility within the community. As a result, we have begun a collaboration with them.

As part of a community-based participatory research (CBPR) trial to increase CRC screening among Chinese American age 50 to 75 in San Francisco, our community-academic research team conducted 2 focus groups with TCM providers and 2 focus groups with their patients. The purpose was to assess the feasibility of working with TCM providers as “complementary health educators” to promote CRC screening with their patients. We found that traditional medicine, especially herbal medicine, was perceived as a first source of primary health care among many older Chinese and also among those newly immigrated. The TCM providers shared in common many beliefs with their patients regarding the medicine. The traditional Chinese concepts of disease causation and prevention were quite different from the perspectives of Western medicine. However, both TCM providers and patients were open to using traditional providers to communicate western biomedical information about CRC screening. Research methods, findings from focus groups, and implications for ongoing work about effective health promotion approaches in this community will be presented.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the role of TCM health beliefs in the Chinese community; 2. List potential barriers to conventional biomedical care related to traditional health beliefs; 3. List several TCM prevention health beliefs; 4. Describe the complementary nature of patient healthcare decision making which commonly combines traditional and allopathic modalities as needed; 5. Describe the potential role of traditional healers in public health preventive screening and community education.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Cancer Screening

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Research, TCM provider, anthropologist
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.