Cervical Cancer Attitudes and Knowledge in Somali Refugees in Nebraska

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The state of Nebraska has a growing number of refugees with diverse backgrounds and health needs. To address these needs, a collaborative project was developed by the local performance site of the Midwestern Public Health Training Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health, and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Office of Women’s and Men’s Health. The purpose of this 2-year project is to improve the quality of services offered by the Office of Women’s and Men’s Health by assessing risk, knowledge, and preventive screening practices in refugee populations and provide recommendations to increase cancer-screening rates. The focus of the project was on cervical cancer prevention of Somali women refugees in Nebraska. In Year 1 of the project (2015-2016), a Refugee Screening Collaborative was created to provide input and recommendations throughout the project; focus groups and a literature review were completed to explore the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of cervical cancer screening and human papillomavirus vaccine among refugees and health care providers; and recommendations were made for the development and implementation of curricula and interventions that address the unique cultural and literacy needs of the population. This project demonstrates the importance of the Public Health Training Center program for building mutually beneficial partnerships between academia and practice.

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