245594 Engaging traditional healers to increase hepatitis B and liver cancer prevention

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pachida Lo, MD(c) , Department of General Surgery, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Background: The Hmong population is disproportionately affected by chronic hepatitis B (HBV) infection, the major risk factor for liver cancer. Hmong are also culturally and linguistically isolated from the rest of the country with most preferring healthcare from a Hmong traditional healer, who have not always endorsed Western medicine. Methods: In this study, qualitative focus groups and surveys were conducted to explore the current HBV knowledge, attitude and practices among Hmong traditional healers with an aim to engage traditional healers in increasing HBV and liver cancer prevention awareness in this population. Audio recordings were transcribed, translated, and then coded. Results: All had low levels of knowledge about HBV and liver cancer prevention and treatment. Most believed that western medicine would be the most effective way to treat HBV and liver cancer because these were physical ailments not treatable by Hmong traditional medicine. Majority had not been screened or vaccinated for HBV (83%), citing factors including low knowledge of HBV and low access to HBV vaccination and screening. Most (83%) participants expressed eagerness to educate clients about HBV and liver cancer prevention after receiving culturally appropriate hepatitis B training Conclusion: This study suggests that Hmong traditional healers are receptive to western medicine preventative practices concerning hepatitis B and liver cancer. These findings have led to the development of a culturally appropriate lay-health-worker program of Hmong traditional healers to increase hepatitis B and liver cancer prevention, and may provide the basis of integrating Hmong traditional healers into other Western diseases prevention efforts.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
List barriers leading to low HBV screening and vaccination among Hmong in Central Valley of California. Identify current HBV knowledge, attitudes and practices among Hmong traditional healers Describe a culturally appropriate program to increase hepatitis B and liver cancer prevention among the Hmong. Discuss the possibility of integrating Hmong traditional healers into Western diseases prevention efforts.

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Hepatitis B

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received my B.S. in Honors Bioresource Research with a focus in toxicology from Oregon State University. Currently, I am a third year medical student at Oregon Health & Sciences University and I am a visiting researcher at the Stanford University Asian Liver Center conducting research on the effectiveness of a lay-health-worker program of Hmong traditional healers to increase hepatitis B and liver cancer prevention awareness.
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.