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Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health

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Projects

national cancer instituteNational Cancer Institute 
Cancer Screening Behavior in Korean
-American Women

The primary objective of the study is to explore and describe the nature of cancer screening behaviors and to identify perceived barriers and health care resources among Korean American women.

maryland cigarette restitution fundMaryland Cigarette Restitution Fund
Cancer Educational Program for Korean American Women: Pilot Study

This study is designed to develop and test culturally sensitive educational programs in a pilot setting and to lay the groundwork for community-based intervention for successful promotion of cancer prevention and screening activities among Korean American women.  A culturally relevant intervention protocol will be developed to reflect a unique understanding of the Korean community and will include creative responses to their needs.  This proposal also responds to state recommendations to reduce morbidity and mortality among minority populations.  This community-based intervention offers a more culturally integrated approach to closing the health disparities among Korean Americans.

the susan g. komen breast cancer foundationThe Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Korean American Breast Health Project in Maryland


The primary goal of this study is to develop and test a culturally integrated cancer educational program for KAW to improve breast cancer screening through increased knowledge of screening activities, outreach, and accessibility to screening.  We will utilize state-of-the-art health educational strategies to increase the acceptability of the educational messages in our target population.  We will develop a health promotional brochure, a “photonovella,” which is culturally sensitive and actively involves Korean women in the development of the materials.  This approach has been successfully implemented for various health promotion programs targeted to traditionally hard-to-reach groups such as urban African-Americans and Hispanics.  A total of 200 KAW 40 years of age and older from two Korean churches and a Korean Community Center will be recruited.

Background

Korean Americans in Marylandcensus of asian population of maryland

Korean Americans are the fourth largest  Asian subpopulation in the United States. Korean Americans first migrated to the United States in response to unstable conditions such as drought, famine, and epidemics in their homeland in the late 1800s and early 1900s primarily as contract laborers. Others have migrated as a result of United States-Korean interaction during the Korean War (e.g., wives of serviceman, orphans adopted by Americans). Post-1965 Korean immigrants tend to come to the United States as families, and most tend to be well educated. The Korean population of the United States more than doubled between 1980 and 1990, with most of the growth due to immigration; in 1990, more than 80 percent of all Korean Americans were foreign born (Office of Research on Women's Health, 1998). Korean Americans are one of the most homogeneous Asian populations in terms of language, ethnicity, and culture. The 2000 United States census showed that there were 39,000 documented Koreans living in Maryland, representing about one-third (17%) of the total 210,000 Asians in Maryland. Korean Americans are the largest group of Asian Americans in this area.

It is clearly documented that screening methods and programs are critical strategies for the early detection and timely treatment of breast and cervical cancer. However, for a variety of reasons (e.g., financial, cultural, informational, and access-related), sizable portions of the sub-populations of minority women report that they do not avail themselves of preventive health tests such as Pap smears and mammography on a regular basis (Chen et al. 1993). A growing number of researchers and healthcare professional are concerned about the use of breast and cervical cancer screening among Korean American women. These studies also identified several significant barriers to cancer screening tests. These barriers included low educational attainment, marital status, no regular medical check-up, lower level of acculturation (i.e., proportion of life spent in the United States, spoken English proficiency), lack of knowledge about cancer screening, no insurance, no family history and lack of physician's recommendation.

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