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Cervical Health Program

The Cervical Health Program at MGH Chelsea 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 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 1,300 patients.

Outcomes

In FY 2013,

  • 218 women were served by the program.
  • The Cervical Health Coordinator made and provided 274 attempts to schedule appointments, 211 appointment reminders, 133 provider/clinic communications, 43 procedure/preparation instructions, 43 patients with education, 29 emotional support, 12 financial assistance referrals, 11 appointment accompaniments, 3 transportation assistance and 2 home visits.
  • A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health in May 2013 comparing 533 navigated and 253 non-navigated Latina women showed navigation can prevent cervical cancer by increasing colposcopy clinic attendance, shortening time to follow-up, and decreasing cervical lesion severity over time. (J Womens Health. 2013 May;22(5):426-31)

Luz Betancourt

Phone: 617 887-3789
Email: lbetancourt@partners.org