Health education for a breast and cervical cancer screening program: using the ecological model to assess local initiatives
This study investigates the development and implementation of health education strategies at the local level for a statewide breast and cervical cancer control program. Baseline data on these initiatives were collected from 88 local screening programs in North Carolina. Using the ecological model as a framework, health education initiatives were assessed and analyzed to determine the level of activity occurring at the local level and the comprehensiveness of programs. Types and levels of interventions used are described and initial analysis is provided of the impact these strategies are having on recruiting women from target populations into these screening programs. Specific examples illustrating the variety of interventions used at the individual, network, organizational and community levels, and the impact of certain variables, such as the use of local health education staff, on the comprehensiveness of interventions utilized, are provided. The importance to practitioners of establishing process indicators in assessing local initiatives and challenges to conducting evaluations of these strategies are also discussed.