Translating flyers into Vietnamese and Spanish, bringing mobile mammography to community hubs and inviting patients who don’t have insurance to participate are the kind of details that go a long way toward encouraging women who might not otherwise get their breast cancer screenings done.

These initiatives, and many more, are helping Novant Health close the gap on mammography screenings among our Asian and Latina patients, two of our fastest-growing patient populations. We have found that Asian women and Latinas are less likely to get mammograms than their counterparts.

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Our goal, as part of our commitment to health equity, is that every woman who is supposed to have a mammogram gets one. We’re committed to using cultural understanding and community outreach to close those gaps. The use of two mobile mammography units in Charlotte, two in Winston-Salem and one in Salisbury, North Carolina, allows Novant Health to provide outreach in historically underserved communities.

That was the strategy behind a mobile mammography clinic, held April 2021 at Light of the World Church in Lexington, and specifically promoted to reach Hispanic community members with or without insurance.

At the event, 25 patients received screenings. Grants secured through the Novant Health foundations and other organizations helped cover costs. Helping to spread the word about the mobile clinic was the Hispanic Latino Advisory Committee, based at Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center, which promoted the mammogram screening event during an earlier COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Compare Foods.

Modesty issues, concerns about cost, anxiety about discomfort, a misperception that screenings are not needed because of no family history of breast cancer and other issues contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in breast cancer screenings.

Dr. Judy Tjoe
Dr. Judy Tjoe, Novant Health breast surgery medical director in Winston-Salem, said community partnerships can help overcome potential cultural and language barriers that keep some women, including patients from our Hispanic and Asian communities, from getting mammograms.

“Any opportunity we have to convey the importance of a screening mammogram for a patient is an advantage — particularly if you have the opportunity to do this alongside a community member where the patients live and congregate,” Tjoe said. “Delivering that message while a mobile mammogram is right there on-site provides even more encouragement to have the mammogram done that same day."

This story is featured in Novant Health’s 2021 Community Impact Report. Read more about Novant Health’s work to promote health and wellness through community benefit.