A Socioecological Approach to Improving Mammography Rates in a Tribal Community

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Abstract

This article highlights the processes and intermediate outcomes of a pilot project to increase mammography rates of women in an American Indian tribe in New Mexico. Using a socioecological framework and principles of community-based participatory research, a community coalition was able to (a) bolster local infrastructure to increase access to mammography services; (b) build public health knowledge and skills among tribal health providers; (c) identify community-specific knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs related to breast cancer; (d) establish interdependent partnerships among community health programs and between the tribe and outside organizations; and (e) adopt local policy initiatives to bolster tribal cancer control. These findings demonstrate the value of targeting a combination of individual, community, and environmental factors, which affect community breast cancer screening rates and incorporating cultural strengths and resources into all facets of a tribal health promotion intervention.

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