Developing patient-refined messaging for a mailed colorectal cancer screening program in a Latino-based community health center

Jamie H. Thompson, Melinda M. Davis, Le Ann Michaels, Jennifer S. Rivelli, Melissa L. Castillo, Brittany M. Younger, Marta Castro, Sacha L. Reich, Gloria D. Coronado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction: Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and screening rates are disproportionately low among Latinos. One factor thought to contribute to the low screening rate is the difficulty Latinos encounter in understanding health information, and therefore in taking appropriate health action. Therefore, we used Boot Camp Translation (BCT), a patient engagement approach, to engage Latino stakeholders (ie, patients, clinic staff) in refining the messages and format of colon cancer screening reminders for a clinic-based direct mail fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) program. Methods: Patient participants were Latino, ages 50 to 75 years, able to speak English or Spanish, and willing to participate in the in-person kickoff meeting and follow-up phone calls over a 3-month period. We held separate BCT sessions for English- and Spanish-speaking participants. As part of the in-person meetings, a bilingual colon cancer expert presented on colon health and screening messages and BCT facilitators led interactive sessions where participants reviewed materials and reminder messages in various modalities (eg, letter, text). Participants considered what information about colon cancer screening was important, the best methods to share these messages, and the timing and frequency with which these messages should be delivered to patients to encourage FIT completion. We used follow-up phone calls to iteratively refine materials developed based on key learnings from the in-person meeting. Results: Twenty-five adults participated in the in-person sessions (English [n 12]; Spanish [n 13]). Patient participants were primarily enrolled in Medicaid/uninsured (76%) and had annual household incomes less than $20,000 (67%). Key themes distilled from the sessions included increasing awareness that screening can prevent colon cancer, stressing the urgency of screening, emphasizing the motivating influence of family, and using personalized messages from the practice such as 'I' or 'we' statements in letters or automated phone call reminders delivered by humans. Participants in both sessions noted the importance of receiving an automated or live alert before a FIT kit is mailed and a reminder within 2 weeks of FIT kit mailing. Discussion: Using BCT, we successfully incorporated participant feedback to adapt culturally relevant health messages to promote FIT testing among Latino patients served by community clinics. Materials will be tested in the larger Participatory Research to Advance Colon Cancer Prevention (PROMPT) trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Colon Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Medicaid
  • Occult Blood
  • Patient Participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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