"Medical interventions fail if the intervention does not match the community's level of readiness to address the issue," says Tracy Schroepfer, an assistant professor of social work at UW-Madison.
After a three-year study of the Hmong population in Wisconsin, Schroepfer and collaborator Viluck Kue found that cancer educators were trying to explain cancer detection and prevention to people who don't have a word for cancer — or a concept for preventing disease.
The Hmong, originally a hill tribe in Laos, emigrated to the United States after the Vietnam war; about 60,000 Hmong people now live in Wisconsin, says Kue, a Hmong who directs the Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations, which serves Southeast Asian immigrants across the state.
Previous efforts to educate Hmong people about preventing and treating cancer had fallen flat, says Kue. "A lot of Hmong were scared of chemotherapy and radiation, they saw people who were not helped, who passed away, and so they began to turn down chemo and radiation in favor of traditional herbal treatment. We want to make sure that people are not scared away from western medical treatment, want to show that these treatments can be helpful."
To find out why the traditional approaches to medical education, which are often based on brochures and handouts, were ineffective, Schroepfer and Kue settled on a strategy called community-based participatory research, which relies on the community to set the agenda and to be a partner in carrying out the research.
In contrast to usual academic research, Schroepfer says, the process was governed by the Hmong themselves. "They own the data, and I have to obtain permission to use it. It's a very different way to do research, and it takes a long time because the researcher must be committed to spending the time to build a relationship with community partners."
For research published online in the Journal of Cancer Education, the researchers adapted a "community-readiness assessment" to ask leaders about the Wisconsin Hmong community's efforts to address cancer. Other questions concerned knowledge, beliefs and traditions related to cancer, prevention and western medicine.
Kue identified eight statewide Hmong leaders, and a Hmong graduate student at UW-Madison performed the surveys.
The results revealed a radically different view of health care, says Schroepfer. "When researchers look at a problem, we look at it through our own eyes. It's important to ask, 'What do you see through your eyes?'"
Early detection had no relevance to the Hmong, Schroepfer says. "Some leaders told us there had been no need: 'In Laos, we had no machines to see inside the body. We had to wait until something hurt.'"
Being treated by a young doctor at the hospital can be unnerving, Schroepfer says, because Hmong elders who were born in Asia had no knowledge about the role of a teaching hospital.
Hmong people tend to make decisions as groups, not as individuals, adds Kue. "If somebody in the family is sick, they will usually want the consent of the elders in a medical decision. If my uncle has a heart problem, the doctor may want to do bypass surgery. But if he discusses it with the family and a lot of people think it is dangerous, he'll decide against it."
Leaders interviewed for the study reported that to educate the Wisconsin Hmong, "Hmong community members need to be the educators," Schroepfer says. "They understand the belief system and can talk to people about it, reframe the experience of cancer."
One concept that arose repeatedly in the interviews was the need for a stronger connection between Hmong and American cultures, says Schroepfer. "The leaders are the ones who used the word 'bridge,' and that's why we used it in the title of the article. They say, 'We need to listen to each other. We want to understand your view of health and the health care system, but need you to understand ours.'"
Tracy Schroepfer | EurekAlert!
Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering
21.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering