Cervical Health Program
The Cervical Health Program provides support services to patients who have had an abnormal Pap smear to ensure that they get follow-up diagnostic care in a timely way. Services include assistance with scheduling, transportation, and health insurance; education; and emotional support.
Abnormal Pap screens most often indicate HPV infection, which can cause cervical cancer. With a cervical cancer incidence rate in Chelsea more than twice that of the state, the Cervical Health Program was established in 2004 to reach out to MGH Chelsea patients who have had an abnormal Pap smear in order to promote timely follow-up and ensure comprehensive care.
In addition to educating patients and providing emotional support, services include assistance with scheduling, transportation and health insurance.
The Cervical Health Program targets women and adolescent girls from MGH Chelsea, Chelsea High School, and Roca (a community youth organization) who have had an abnormal pap smear and as a result, require a colposcopy and/or other treatments. Timely diagnostic and treatment services ultimately help to reduce cervical cancer.
The Cervical Health Program provides a number of services to patients, including:
• Addressing individual barriers to care (limited English language skills, inadequate health insurance coverage, and transportation, child care and work-related issues), and emotional barriers such as fear or lack of understanding
• Helping patients with scheduling and making reminder phone calls
• Conducting home visits for select patients
• Educating patients on cervical health, including the HPV vaccine and the importance of regular pap smears, and empowering them to become advocates for their own cervical health
• Participating in outreach events and organizing educational activities to promote cervical cancer awareness
Since the program’s inception in 2004, the program has served more than 1,100 patients; 78% of these patients are Latina, and 73% of patients have limited English proficiency.
In FY 2012, 373 women were served by the program.
- The Cervical Health Coordinator provided 573 appointment reminders, 337 scheduled appointments, 152 provider/clinic communications, 33 financial assistance referrals, 24 procedure/preparation instructions, 20 patients with education, 16 appointment accompaniments, 3 home visits, 2 pharmacy assistance, 1 transportation assistance and 1 social services referral.
A study comparing 533 navigated and 253 non-navigated Latina women with abnormal Pap smears requiring follow-up at the MGH Colposcopy Clinic showed navigation can prevent cervical cancer by increasing colposcopy clinic attendance, shortening colposcopy follow-up, and decreasing cervical lesion severity over time.
Phone: 617 887-3789