Engaging Health Systems to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening: Community–Clinical Outreach in Underserved Areas of Wisconsin
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Engaging Health Systems to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening: Community–Clinical Outreach in Underserved Areas of Wisconsin

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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in Wisconsin. Incidence and mortality rates for colorectal cancer vary by age, race/ethnicity, geography, and socioeconomic status. From 2010 through 2012, the Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Control Program awarded grants to 5 regional health systems for the purpose of planning and implementing events to increase colorectal cancer screening rates in underserved communities.

    Community Context

    Grantees were chosen for their ability to engage community partners in reaching underserved groups including African American, Hispanic/Latino, Hmong, rural, and uninsured populations in their service areas.


    Grantees identified target populations for proposed screening events, designated institutional planning teams, engaged appropriate local partner organizations, and created plans for follow-up. All grantees implemented 1 or more colorectal cancer screening events within 6 months of receiving their awards. Events were conducted in 2 phases.


    Participating health systems organized 36 screening events and distributed 633 individual test kits; 506 kits were returned, of which 57 (9%) tested positive for colorectal abnormalities. Of attendees who received screening, 63% were uninsured or underinsured, 55% had no previous screening, 46% were of a racial/ethnic minority group, 22% had a family history of cancer, and 13% were rural residents. This project strengthened partnerships between health systems and local organizations.


    An effective strategy for improving colorectal cancer screening rates, particularly among underserved populations, is to award health systems grants for implementing community-based screening events in conjunction with community partners.

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