MCC 2010 Spirit of Collaboration Award Winner University of Michigan Health System Free Pap Test Screening
About the Initiative On Jan. 30, 2010, partners in this collaboration provided free cervical
cancer screening to women who had not had a Pap test in the last two
years and did not have medical coverage for a Pap test. Any woman who was at least 21 years of age and met these criteria was eligible to schedule an appointment with emphasis placed on screening a racially and ethnically diverse group of women. The departments involved in the collaboration absorbed the cost for the Ann Arbor event, and providers from the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pathology donated their time to collect and process the specimens.
This event was the first time a free Pap test screening had been offered at the University of Michigan, and it was extremely successful, with a total of 75 women screened. Overall, participants, volunteers and organizers were pleased with this event. The women who were screened expressed gratitude and appreciation to everyone involved for providing an important and needed service. Many expressed financial hardships due to unemployment or loss of insurance had prohibited them from being screened even though they knew it was important to their health. They also thanked the organizers for providing a comfortable friendly environment. Volunteer nurses from the Oncology Nursing Society who assisted providers during the procedures and served as chaperones commended the efficiency and organization of the entire process and said that it was very rewarding to take part in the event.
Impetus for the Collaboration Cervical cancer is a serious disease affecting approximately 11,000 women every year. Fortunately, it is also one of the most preventable cancers and can be effectively managed with regular screening and appropriate follow-up care. Financial and social barriers prevent large numbers of women from being screened early and often for cervical cancer and, as a result, they may face more advanced disease once it is diagnosed. The current economic hardships and high rates of unemployment confronting the state of Michigan likely magnify challenges to access care and further decrease the number of women who are screened for cervical cancer.
University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) has a strong commitment to improving women's health through patient care education and community service. Several departments across UMHS sought to lessen some of the barriers to cervical cancer screening women in southeast Michigan are experiencing by organizing a free Pap Test screening. In addition to providing an important and necessary service, UMHS also recognized that community service and coordinated outreach build community relationships, which, in turn, positively impacts overall community health and utilization of local health services.
Results A total of 75 women received a free Pap Test during this event. A large proportion (44 percent) of women screened were minorities, and most were between the ages of 25 and 54. Every participant received a list of local resources for free or low-cost health care. The UMHS Women’s Health Program had additional materials available for women interested in learning more about cervical cancer and HPV.
Sixty-six women had normal Pap results. Two women had atypical cells, but both were found to be HPV negative and required no additional follow-up. In addition, providers visually identified abnormalities on several women and instructed them at the time of the screening to seek appropriate follow-up care.
All women requiring follow-up care received a phone call from physicians from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology to report results and provide necessary follow-up instructions. If women needed more information about how and where to receive care, they were also contacted by a licensed social worker to discuss options.
Lessons Learned Women are aware of the importance of cervical cancer screening, but social and financial burdens often prohibit screening. Providing a free day of screening is a successful strategy to overcome barriers and provide women the opportunity to be screened. This project highlights a model for collaboration and fiscal soundness by streamlining time, effort and resources between departments. To ensure continued and growing success of this event, interpreter services should be involved in order to serve a broader group of women, and a fundraising or donation campaign should be implemented to provide future financial support.
“University of Michigan Health System Free Pap Test Screening” received the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s 2010 Spirit of Collaboration Award. The annual award is presented to member organizations that have done outstanding collaborative work to significantly move comprehensive cancer control activities forward in Michigan.
Learn More For more information about this project, please contact University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center Director of Community Outreach Aisha T. Langford, MPH, at 734 998 7073 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)