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Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners as Complimentary Health Educators for Colorectal Cancer Prevention Among Chinese Americans in San Francisco
San Francisco State University faculty collaborated in community-based participatory research with University of California San Francisco, NICOS (the Chinese health coalition), and the Chinatown Public Health Center to increase use of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening among Chinese American adults in San Francisco. The partners identified research questions, and interventions were carried out by the community researchers.
The partners also utilized focus groups of practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine to explore whether and how they, as “complementary health educators,” promoted CRC among their clients. Recognizing the importance of these practitioners in the target community’s health care system, the researchers explored their potential as a novel addition to the lay health worker intervention strategy, given their unique role and accessibility. Four focus groups were conducted with twelve practitioners and their clients separately, to explore how these practitioners might promote CRC screening.
The groups revealed that Chinese medicine, especially herbal medicine, is considered the primary health care source among older and newly immigrated Chinese Americans. Providers and their clients share the knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, and the Chinese idea of prevention is very different from disease prevention in Western medicine.
Jun Wang, Health Education and the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies
San Francisco State University
Adam Burke, Education and the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, San Francisco State University
Kent Woo, Director of NICOS Chinese Health Coalition
Key words: San Francisco, Northern California, health/health education/health disparities, Asian/Asian American/Asian Pacific Islander