243666 Preventive intervention with low-income female co-survivors of cancer: “Un Abrazo Para La Familia”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Catherine Marshall, PhD , Center of Excellence in Women's Health; also, Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, & Families, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Lorena Verdugo , Wellness Program, El Rio Community Health Center, Tucson, AZ
Francisco Garcia, MD, MPH , Obstetrics and Gynecology; National Center of Excellence in Women's Heath; Arizona Hispanic Center of Excellence, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
“I realized my head was not reacting normally. It's like a deep depression, a lot of pressure.” This report from a woman whose sister had breast cancer was among qualitative data which informed the development and evaluation of a free service, “Un Abrazo Para La Familia,” [A Hug for the Family] offered through the El Rio Community Health Center Wellness Program for Hispanic breast cancer survivors and their families in Tucson, Arizona. Initial research found that low-income co-survivors of cancer reported cancer-related stress and needed cancer information: “Having information gives one power.” Developed in partnership with the University of Arizona's Center of Excellence in Women's Health, the Abrazo program offers three classes in Spanish or English. Our goals included 1) bringing evidence-based cancer information into the homes and natural gathering places of low-income Hispanic co-survivors of cancer and 2) addressing the identified needs as part of a trauma-informed interventions. The classes provided the opportunity to learn skills in coping with cancer and caregiving, help understanding depression, information about the risks of breast cancer, and emotional support. During our first year, 63 families were served. The classes were delivered by a trained promotora, in partnership with professional counselor experienced in community mental health. In terms of ethnicity, 99% of participants were Hispanic and 75% were low income. Evaluation results showed statistically significant improvement in cancer knowledge and in self-confidence related to cancer knowledge. Implications of the Abrazo experience for developing community-level preventive interventions will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
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
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how addressing the needs of co-survivors of cancer contributes to the well-being and health of a community. Explain why a social justice framework calls for community-level preventive interventions for low-income families experiencing cancer-related stress.

Keywords: Caregivers, Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Psychoeducational Director for the Un Abrazo Para La Familia program.
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.