Online Program

Mammogram disparities among Virginia tech employees

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cynthia Karlsson, MS, MPH, PhD candidate (2017), HNFE: Translational Obesity, Virginia Tech / Virginia Western Community College, Blacksburg, VA
Madison Gates, PhD, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA
Early detection of breast cancer through mammography screenings is the most effective measure individuals can take to minimize treatment and increase survival. Virginia Tech employs 2500 females who are over 40 years old and should be having mammograms. Despite Virginia Tech providing free access to and time off from work for annual mammograms, medical utilization reports reveal that screening rates for females were 16.9% in 2010 and 20.9% in 2011. Virginia Tech screening rates for the past two years are significantly lower than national average of 67.1%. This study investigates why there is such low utilization in rural Southwest Virginia, also part of Appalachia, and to identify cultural, social class, and employee status disparities between population groups. A survey was administered (N = 350) in 2012 to employees at Virginia Tech and asked participants about mammography utilization, breast cancer risks, and reasons for not getting mammograms. Along with a survey, this study combined medical claims data to provide a complete picture of what participants report and what utilization reveals. Preliminary results reveal that some female employees have deficiencies in their understanding of breast cancer, treatment, and morbidity, but there also are cultural and regional barriers that make females in rural Southwest Virginia (Appalachia) less likely to engage proactively in screenings for breast cancer even when services are provided through an employer. The preliminary results are providing the basis for developing best practices to educate a targeted population of females in a culturally and linguistic appropriate way through employee wellness programs.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Design an intervention to increase screening mammography rates among rural SW Virginia residents based on survey, medical trends, and claims data from Virginia Tech employee population.

Keyword(s): Health Advocacy, Mammography Screening

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the current Director of Employee Wellness at Virginia Tech with over twenty years of experience in the health promotion and public health. I am enrolled in the MPH program (6/2013) and PhD program (2015). I have research experience in medical utilization and expense data analysis utilized to drive program design, implementation, and evaluation among the Virginia Tech employee population.
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.

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