Between 2009 and 2011, Perlas implemented one of the largest interventions to be conducted with Latinas with cultural and linguistic barriers. Over 2,500 patients ages 40 to 80 were reached during the intervention period. Intervention activities included clinician-based and patient-based education (e.g., fotonovelas, life-size, speaking “cut-outs” of providers) and system interventions (e.g., patient and clinician paper and electronic prompts). Mammography rates for Latinas exposed to intervention activities were statistically significantly higher than non-Latinas after controlling for demographic and system-care variables (e.g., 59% vs 47%, P<.01). Despite a higher rate of diabetes among Latinas, patients who spoke Spanish and were Latino were more likely to complete mammography screening than non-Latino, English-speaking patients. The intervention components were well accepted and became integrated within the system of care beyond the initial project period.
Project Perlas illustrates the power of community-academic collaboration to address disparities that matter to communities with cultural and linguistic barriers. Challenges related to differences in goals, communication and approach between the academic researchers, health providers and community advocates were overcome by consistent and intentional opportunities to build relationships and learn to practice the principles of CBPR. This includes learning to balance the demands for quality services for vulnerable populations with the requirements for measurement and quality research. The end result was an innovative culturally appropriate systems intervention with substantial improvements in mammography screening for Latinas. The materials and protocols for Project Perlas are designed to be replicated and adapted for other health centers serving, especially those serving larger numbers of Latinas. The lessons learned about developing and sustaining meaningful community-academic partnerships can improve how community organizations use research to eliminate health disparities. Further, these lessons can guide how institutes of higher education and other training agencies prepare researchers to be meaningful collaborators in community-driven efforts for health equity.
Presentation Information:Program: Poster Presentations (Main Conference)
Primary Category: Research
Subtopics: breast cancer, Disease specific focus, Disparity reduction
Region Addressed by Presentation: US - California