Why the program was developed
Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer morbidity and mortality among Latinas. However, it can be prevented through regular health screenings and/or the HPV vaccine. In order to promote the importance of prevention and encourage Latinas to schedule regular healthcare screenings, the Es Timepo (It’s Time) campaign was developed by Dr. Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati from the Department of Preventive Medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine.
Purpose of the program
Led by Dr. Baezconde-Garbanati and Co-Director Dr. Sheila Murphy, Es Tiempo includes a multidisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners and focuses on three goals: (1) increasing rates of regular cervical cancer screening among Latina women, (2) increasing uptake of HPV vaccine by Latina girls, and (3) improving continuity of care for Latina women with cervical lesions requiring surveillance or treatment. To achieve these goals, the campaign utilizes community engagement techniques that reach beyond the usual confines of biomedicine to develop innovative and effective approaches.
Es Tiempo is a stunningly beautiful and innovative campaign developed to prevent cervical cancer among Latinas. It uses the annual blooming of the purple jacaranda tree in Los Angeles to remind us all that we can prevent cervical cancer. Es Tiempo was developed through community engagement strategies that included ongoing feedback from the targeted community. This formative research found that Latina women without a regular health care provider need to be reminded to schedule screenings.
This process also identified that it is important to design these reminders in a culturally appropriate manner that uses positive messaging while also emphasizing individuals’ strengths and beauty. As a result, the campaign uses rich visual imagery to link cervical cancer screenings to the annual bloom of the jacaranda, an exceptionally beautiful tree that is beloved in California and much of Latin America. Materials developed for the campaign were received with enthusiasm by focus groups of Latina residents of Los Angeles County, and have won national design awards.
When was the program started
Es Tiempo was initiated in the summer of 2015 and is now in its third year while continuing to be refined and improved. For example, as the program has grown, it was necessary to form working relationships with health care providers who are ready to respond to the increased demand for cervical cancer screening in Southern California, particularly the communities that are the focus of the Es Tiempo campaign.
Who the program is targeting?
Es Tiempo is focused on engaging Latinas in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. The bilingual campaign has three components: 1) outdoor media posted on billboards, bus benches, and light post banners, which were tested in Boyle Heights in partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Women’s Health; 2) a clinic intervention in partnership with Clínicas Monseñor Oscar A. Romero; and 3) a series of one-on-one and small group presentations conducted by promotoras de salud.
How are the communities being engaged?
When women call the helpline printed on the campaign materials, staff make appointments and referrals for free or low cost cervical cancer screening and/or HPV vaccinations. The Romero clinics also mail postcards to women who have not had a Pap test in the last three years, and clinic posters remind women to schedule their cervical cancer screening. In addition, promotoras de salud conduct workshops in community venues such as public libraries and community centers.
In the next year, we plan to develop an electronic toolkit that can be distributed to more than 200 community clinics for further outreach and engagement.