Over the past several months, I have been working with a private hospital, a government funded health center, and several national and international NGO's working in Guatemala to organize reseearch to compare the effectiveness of various modalities of providing patient education about cervial cancer and cervical cancer screening among women in rural Mayan communities. Currently, there are many barriers to successful screening through existing methods and I hope to utilize new technology (HPV self-swab) as well as "old-technology" (community health workers and trained midwives serving as health educators and care navigators) to improve knowledge, screening and follow-up/treatment for HPV, cervical dysplasia and cancer.
During this elective, I plan to oversee the implementation of several important aspects of the research project. My work during this time will include the training and initial oversight of community health workers, the organization and completion of at least one community health fair and coordination with a local NGO who will be expanding their scope of work to accept women who are identified through our screening programs and require further follow-up and treatment. In addition to this concentrated 6-week elective time, I plan to make several separate trips to Guatemala to oversee this work, which has gained the support and enthusiasm of many local health care organizations and community leaders. I am excited to move this work forward, provide training and capacity-building opportunities for the local organizations involved and contribute to the establishedment of a sustainable model of cervical cancer screening and treatement in rural indigenous communities throughout Guatemala.
Collaborating Institution: Salvando Madres