Nursing Faculty Receives Grant to Promote Colorectal Screening in Rural Appalachia

by Ann Blackford

(Dec. 11, 2013) – Jennifer Hatcher, associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, received a two-year $359,528 award from the National Cancer Institute for her project, “Promoting Colorectal Cancer Screening (CRC) in Rural Emergency Departments.” 

Jennifer HatcherThe project will be the first to address the disproportionate incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer in rural Appalachia utilizing the emergency department as an access point. Hatcher and her team will pilot test a culturally tailored intervention using brief motivational interviewing by lay health advisors to promote colorectal cancer screenings in an emergency department serving rural Appalachian Kentucky in order to evaluate the feasibility of the intervention in this rural Appalachian setting and assess the effects of the intervention on perceived barriers to CRC screening and future cancer screening.

“Residents of rural Appalachia have a higher incidence and mortality rate from colorectal cancer than residents of any other region of the country," Hatcher said. "In light of the fact that colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can actually be prevented by screening, this grant presents a tremendous opportunity for us to address one of the key factors affecting this disparity for rural Appalachians -- limited access to the health care system."

An emergency department provides services to many rural residents who may not have a primary care provider.  "We believe that using an emergency department as an access point for this project will allow us to reach more individuals who are at risk for developing colorectal cancer, thereby reducing the disparate mortality rates that rural Appalachians suffer from this disease,” Hatcher added.

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