Journal of Community Health

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 583–590 | Cite as

Provider Perspectives on Promoting Cervical Cancer Screening Among Refugee Women

  • Ying Zhang
  • India J. Ornelas
  • H. Hoai Do
  • Maya Magarati
  • J. Carey Jackson
  • Victoria M. Taylor
Original Paper


Many refugees in the United States emigrated from countries where the incidence of cervical cancer is high. Refugee women are unlikely to have been screened for cervical cancer prior to resettlement in the U.S. National organizations recommend cervical cancer screening for refugee women soon after resettlement. We sought to identify health and social service providers’ perspectives on promoting cervical cancer screening in order to inform the development of effective programs to increase screening among recently resettled refugees. This study consisted of 21 in-depth key informant interviews with staff from voluntary refugee resettlement agencies, community based organizations, and healthcare clinics serving refugees in King County, Washington. Interview transcripts were analyzed to identify themes. We identified the following themes: (1) refugee women are unfamiliar with preventive care and cancer screening; (2) providers have concerns about the timing of cervical cancer education and screening; (3) linguistic and cultural barriers impact screening uptake; (4) provider factors and clinic systems facilitate promotion of screening; and (5) strategies for educating refugee women about screening. Our findings suggest that refugee women are in need of health education on cervical cancer screening during early resettlement. Frequent messaging about screening could help ensure that women receive screening within the early resettlement period. Health education videos may be effective for providing simple, low literacy messages in women’s native languages. Appointments with female clinicians and interpreters, as well as clinic systems that remind clinicians to offer screening at each appointment could increase screening among refugee women.


Cervical cancer Refugee Women’s health Health care providers 



We would like to acknowledge the contribution of the participants in our study. This work was supported by grant number R21CA187401 from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Zhang was supported by a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health (Grant Number T32HP10002), Dr. Ornelas was supported by the Institute of Translational Health Sciences KL2 Program at the University of Washington (Grant Number ULTR0000423).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Family MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Health ServicesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Cancer PreventionFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  4. 4.School of Social WorkUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.General Internal MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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