UA researchers receive grant for Hispanic women's health study - Tucson News Now

UA researchers receive grant for Hispanic women's health study

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Knowledge is power. The power to stay well.

The University of Arizona is conducting a huge new health care education effort.   

UA College of Public Health researchers have just received a major federal grant to help Hispanic women learn more about their health care options.   

Prevention is considered the key to fighting disease, but what if that, and other important health information, is not getting to the people who need it?

When you have a whole population of people who historically do not get the health checkups they might need, it's obvious there's some sort of disconnect.

This new study is looking to fix that problem and, in the process, save lives.

UA College of Public Health Dr. Allison Hopkins is heading up the study.

"Hispanic women are two times more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Hispanic white women," Hopkins says. "There is no reason why anyone should be dying from it. And especially have such a large gap between different ethic groups. It's just not acceptable."

Hopkins and her team have won an $878,000 federal grant to find better ways to reach Hispanic women who historically have limited access to health information.

And there are plenty of questions and concerns out there, as we found.

"People need to take care of themselves. Maybe there's something they don't know that they need to look at," says Tucsonan Margie Trujillo-Farmer.

Sally Mungia says, "I believe that most women are just scared of what they're going to  hear. That's the thing and most people are in denial,"

They're all issues researchers will try to deal with.

Dr. Hopkins says information has to be provided in a way that women can understand and use.

the study will follow 3,000 Hispanic women in pima county to see if changing the way they are provided information leads to health care screenings and treatment, if they need it.

Dr. Hopkins says women in the study will be given health information, in person, on prevention and on treatment and where to get help.

Then the researchers will check to see if the women understood and used the information.

Here's how it will work: community health care workers will contact each woman three times.

the first two contacts will be in person to provide health information on three conditions, and on how to find a clinic or where to get screened.

The third contact is a phone call to see if the study participant was satisfied with the service the community health care worker provided and whether the woman followed through and got screened.

"Our ultimate goal is to increase the number of Hispanic women in Pima County that get screened for these three conditions: Sexually transmitted infections, cervical cancer and depression. And the idea is that we'll be able to improve their health by having the screenings done early," Hopkins says.

Hopkins says this study could lead to better health outcomes in several different areas. 

Dr. Allison Hopkins, UA College of Public Health: "If we find out that it works, then we can use this model for other priority health issues. So, we would go back, with the community health workers to find out what are other areas that there's a real need, where there's a real lack of information in the community or misinformation."

Study participants must be Hispanic women, ages 30 to 65, who live in Pima County.

To learn more or to volunteer to participate in the study, call Dr. Hopkins in Tucson at (520) 626-8528.

Hopkins will put each caller in touch with a community health worker.

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